Wetheringsett: Eco2 launches appeal to build £100million biomass plant

Dr Andrew Toft, Director of Projects at Eco2 Ltd

Dr Andrew Toft, Director of Projects at Eco2 Ltd - Credit: Archant

Opponents of a £100million biomass plant have said they will continue to fight the plans after an appeal was launched.

Last July councillors voted against the proposals for the Mendlesham Renewable Energy Plant by 16 votes to one. Eco2 Ltd, the company behind the plans, said it was “absolutely” going to appeal - a process that is now underway.

Company bosses argue the plant, which is meant to burn straw as its primary fuel source and would be based in Wetheringsett, near Stowmarket, would bring “significant” economic benefits to the region including about 200 jobs during construction.

Since the plans were first put forward in late 2011 the project has attracted substantial criticism from farmers and bosses of some of Suffolk’s biggest companies. They argue farmers could be put out of business as the plant may cause straw prices to rise.

Andrew Toft, director of projects for Eco2, said they had now launched their appeal. “The council’s professional planning team was correct in recommending that the project should be granted planning permission and the planning committee was wrong to overturn such considered and expert advice,” he added.

The firm claims a further 30 jobs would be created for the operation of the plant and the equivalent of 50 full-time positions in straw transportation.

Jimmy Butler, a partner of Blythburgh Free Range Pork, said: “If the price of straw goes up and livestock goes up, I know what will happen in the shops – it will either be dearer or people will go out of busin”ess, or a combination of both. Eco2 is confident there is more than enough straw available and the plant will not “disrupt existing markets”.

Charles Tilbury, district councillor for Wetheringsett, said his and the community’s opposition to the plans remained.

Mid Suffolk District Council has said it will defend the decision made by councillors.