Burning straw incinerator plans outlined

A �100MILLION incinerator generating electricity from burning straw supplied by local farmers would create enough power to meet the needs of 65,000 homes, it has been claimed.

John Howard

A �100MILLION incinerator generating electricity from burning straw supplied by local farmers would create enough power to meet the needs of 65,000 homes, it has been claimed.

The development is earmarked for agricultural land near Mendlesham Airfield Industrial Estate, near Stowmarket, and would create scores of jobs, said David Williams, chief executive of applicant Eco2.

The complex would include a boiler house and three fuel storage barns, two for straw and one for wood, with a stack estimated at being between 50 to 60 metres high. The development would include a steam turbine to generate electricity.

Mr Williams, whose company has recently gained planning permission for a similar facility at Sleaford in Lincolnshire, said: “This will be an important development for both environmental and economic reasons.

“Not only will we be generating clean, sustainable energy at Mendlesham, we will also be boosting the local economy with new jobs and the placing of around �8milllion a year of straw supply contracts with local farmers.

Most Read

“We will be undertaking a full programme of consultations amongst the local community in order to create a renewable energy plant that that the whole area can be proud of.”

Mr Williams confirmed the project will create around 80 jobs locally, 30 of which will be in the direct running of the plant and a further 50 in straw supply.

Generating 40MW of renewable energy, the plant will produce enough electricity to meet the needs of 65,000 homes, he said.

He added that a thorough Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) will be commissioned to evaluate issues including transportation, landscape and visual impact, ecology and nature conservation, geology, hydrology and hydrogeology, noise, air quality and archaeology and heritage.

Andrew Stringer, a Green Mid Suffolk district councillor who represents Mendlesham, said: “The community is concerned, but interested.

“We desperately need to see the details, and know issues such as identifying the amount of traffic.”

A spokeswoman for Eco2 said the firm would be engaging with the local community when the EIA gets underway and the company will provide full details of its proposals, and invite comment from the public prior to the submission of a planning application.

The application and its accompanying environmental statement will be submitted to Mid Suffolk District Council in mid 2009. If successful by the end of the year with the planning process, construction will take about three years, with the site operational by 2012.

Eco2 specialises in initiating, developing, financing and operating renewable energy projects throughout the UK and Spain. Eco2 was set up during November 2002.