Mid Suffolk: Company behind £100million biomass burner still to make appeal three months after plans were rejected

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

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

The company behind proposals to build a £100million biomass plant last night insisted it will still appeal a decision to reject the controversial plans.

In July, Eco2 Ltd branded Mid Suffolk District Council’s decision to dismiss the proposals for the straw-burning plant, which would be built in Wetheringsett, near Stowmarket, as “ridiculous” and said they would be making a formal challenge.

But so far the company has failed to make an appeal to a planning inspector who would investigate the proposals and the council’s decision.

The chairman of Wetheringsett-cum-Brockford Parish Council, Martin Lawrence, said he had doubts whether the company would ever make a formal appeal. “They are saying they will take it to a planning appeal but they will have an awful lot of explaining to do after Mid Suffolk rejected the proposals,” he said.

He said the parish council’s opposition to the plans “had not changed at all” and cited concerns over fires and the impact the burner could have on farming businesses.

It was revealed when the council made its decision how the A140 could be forced to close for days if a fire broke out at the plant. But Eco2 said prevention systems would be in place and discussions over mitigating the risk would be had with fire chiefs.

Jimmy Butler, a partner of Blythburgh Free Range Pork, argued farmers could be forced out of business if the plant was built.

Most Read

“I would hope that after having the plant rejected they would have more sense than to appeal,” he said. “I cannot understand what grounds they have for an appeal. We have said all along that there is not the straw available but they do not take no for an answer.”

Other major Suffolk food and agricultural businesses have also voiced opposition including Aspall Cyder, British Quality Pigs and Bacton Pigs Ltd.

The MP for the area Dan Poulter said he “100% backed” the council’s rejection decision. But Eco2 said Mid Suffolk councillors had “turned their backs” on a huge investment in jobs and the economy and questioned whether the district was “really open for business”.

Dr Andrew Toft, director of projects for Eco2, said: “It remains our intention to appeal against the decision made by the planning committee on July 18. We expect to begin this process before the end of the year.”

The company said it is “confident” there is more than enough straw and the plant will not “disrupt existing markets”.