Mendlesham: Concerns over how biomass plant would affect nearby transmitter tower

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

Fears have been raised over how a £100million biomass plant would affect workers at a nearby communications mast.

The owners of Mendlesham mast, a transmitting station in Wetheringsett-cum-Brockford, near Stowmarket, are concerned about emissions from the straw-burning energy plant, which is proposed to be built nearby.

The transmitting station provides national and local radio signals and is also used by mobile phone operators. Arqiva, the company which owns the station, has said it is “not satisfied” with an Air Quality report produced as part of the plant’s planning application.

A letter from Arqiva’s Mike Smith, town planning manager, said: “Arqiva has concerns over the adverse impacts the new development will have on this well established transmitting station, with the important services it provides, and the welfare of our employees and contractors.”

The company has concerns over how climbers, working on the mast, will be affected by any emissions coming from the plant.

The climbers can work to heights of up to 300metres and would need 90 minutes to come down in the event of an emergency.

The proposals are currently with Mid Suffolk District Council, which is expected to announce its decision on the plans next month. If the application is successful Arqiva has called for Eco2 Ltd – the company behind the biomass plant – to fund air sensors to warn climbers of any dangers.

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Director Andrew Toft, director of projects for Eco2, said: “This is a matter for the planning authority to consider in due course as part of the normal application process.”

Eco2 has said the plant would create 80 permanent jobs and 200 during construction.