Mendlesham: Residents mount campaign against energy plant

PLANS to build a �100m straw-powered energy plant have triggered a wave of objections after fears that 200 extra lorries would clog up the A140.

Proposals have been put forward for the renewable energy plant at Mendlesham Industrial Estate, near Stowmarket but 90 per cent of respondents to a consultation process run through Mid Suffolk District Council’s website have objected to the move.

Eco2, the company behind the proposals, says there will only be 100 lorry deliveries in and out of the plant which will have a “negligible effect” on the amount of traffic in the area.

Mendlesham Parish Council has written to Mid Suffolk to voice its concern that lorries will be delivering straw via unsuitable small roads.

The council said: “We are concerned that the proposed site access and capacity to accept incoming loaded lorries is inadequate. This could lead to HGVs queuing and backing up on the A140 itself.

“The impact of the industrial estate’s existing traffic, including the HGVs, should also be considered to avoid the A140 stopping totally. Whilst lorries may have delivery time slots, this does not mean that some lorries will not arrive together.”

One resident commenting on the proposals said: “I am very concerned about the impact that this plant would have on the local area in terms of air pollution and additional vehicle traffic on small country roads used by cyclists.”

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Eco2 has said that the plant would create about 200 jobs and inject �8million into the local economy every year.

Dr Andrew Toft, director of projects, said: “The number of lorry movements is 50 in and 50 out on a normal 12 hour day as described in the environmental statement.

“The 200 number that has been quoted by the opposition group is a maximum theoretical amount of lorry movements, based on the unloading capacity of the plant, but in practice this is never going to happen.

“Straw will be collected from numerous locations throughout a 30 mile radius of the plant so some country roads will see lorries if straw is being collected from a nearby stack, but this will be for a limited time before the focus of collection moves elsewhere once that particular stack is depleted.

“Emissions from the plant will be continuously monitored and we will operate under strict Environment Agency limits, well below levels that are considered harmful, as defined in an environmental permit.

“The photomontages in the environmental statement indicate that from most viewpoints within 5km of the site, the plant is barely visible at all but obviously views from nearby residences and passing motorists will be affected. The design of the plant has taken this into consideration and every effort has been made to mitigate this impact.”

A decision on the plans will be published by Mid Suffolk on June 8.