New woodchip biomass plant faces local opposition

A proposed new biomass plant in the South West of England has caused controversy in the village where it is set to be built.

Residents of Woolavington, Somerset, have voiced their opposition and concerns about the new wood chip fuelled biomass plant. In particular, they argue that they have not received enough information about the new development. The proposal, by SHAL Housing and Cenergist, is for a development at the sports field in Upper Woolavington.

“They cannot tell us how much it will cost, we do not know how frequent deliveries are going to be, the size of the wagons. There are nowhere near enough details.” chairman Ron Eden of the Woolavington Residents Association told the Bridgwater Mercury.

Once completed, the new biomass plant is set to heat 160 homes in the village.

A vote at a recent meeting of the residents association saw all residents in attendance declare they were not in favour of the new development.

“We need to get our objections in before it reaches the planning stage,” Mr Eden said.

Angela Gascoigne, CEO of SHAL Housing, told the Bridgewater Mercury: “I would have loved an invitation to this meeting so that I could give people the facts about the proposals being put forward by SHAL and Sedgemoor District Council to develop a heating and hot water system using a low CO2 producing technology that does away with the need for people to use generally more expensive fuels such as LPG, electric and oil and which takes advantage of the major energy companies’ obligations to fund cheaper energy for customers. 

“The council and SHAL consulted people who live in Woolavington and are ‘off gas’ last summer and there was enough interest shown by residents to take the next step which is to go through the planning process with a fully worked-up scheme. 

“The scheme is currently in preparation and is taking account of the feedback we got last year and at our pre-planning consultation event last Tuesday.”

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