Mendlesham: Company behind controversial straw-powered energy plant to collaborate over straw resource concerns

Dr Andrew Toft, director of projects at Eco2 Ltd, at the Mendlesham site the company is hoping to de

Dr Andrew Toft, director of projects at Eco2 Ltd, at the Mendlesham site the company is hoping to develop - Credit: Archant

The company behind the controversial proposal to build a £100million energy plant has vowed to work in partnership with a similar station in Norfolk to avoid competing for limited straw supplies.

Farmers have raised concerns about the levels of straw available to fire the plant which is proposed to be constructed near Mendlesham, Stowmarket.

But Eco2 Ltd - the company behind the plans - has announced it will work alongside another straw-powered plant in Snetterton, if planning permission is granted for the Suffolk site. The Norfolk-based plant is being developed by Iceni Energy Ltd.

David Williams, chief executive of Eco2, said: “Fuel supply is critical to the success of both Snetterton and Mendlesham. As developers, Iceni Energy and Eco2 share farmers’ concerns about the need to avoid competition for straw, both within the energy sector and within the wider market for agricultural commodities. This agreement to develop our projects on a joint basis is a testament to this guiding principle.”

Andrew Hilton, managing director of Iceni Energy, said: “Iceni Energy has an intimate understanding of agriculture in East Anglia. Eco2 has a proven track record in getting projects through the financing process and into construction. It makes perfect sense to be working together for the good of both projects.”

Jimmy Butler, a partner of Blythburgh Free Range Pork, said: “I think the whole thing stinks. I think they are playing games with both the industries and also the planners. There’s no way they can get straw for both plants.” The Suffolk Preservation Society has objected to Eco2’s proposal calling the plans ‘fundamentally flawed’. A residents’ group will also continue to oppose the plan.