Wetheringsett-cum-Brockford: MP Dan Poulter backs council over possible appeal fight on biomass burner

Dr Dan Poulter MP has backed Mid Suffolk District Council in its decision to snub an application for

Dr Dan Poulter MP has backed Mid Suffolk District Council in its decision to snub an application for a £100m biomass burner - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk MP has strongly backed a council which could have to fight a planning appeal from the company behind the controversial £100million biomass burner.

Dr Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, has said he is ‘100% in support’ of Mid Suffolk District Council which turned down the bid for the straw-burning plant in Wetheringsett-cum-Brockford, near Stowmarket.

He said he had been inundated with letters and emails from concerned residents and businesses about the effect the plant could have.

“I was delighted with the decision to turn down the application and I have worked hard to raise the issues with the leadership of the council,” Dr Poulter said.

“I think we have got to the right place with the councillors’ decision. They looked at it and the impact the plant would have in Suffolk and on the East Anglian economy. I am hopeful it will be turned down if it goes to an appeal.

“I will continue to work with the campaign groups to fight against the proposals.”

He added although the development may give an initial jobs boost during construction, it would lead to a “detrimental” impact on straw prices and the “backbone” of the rural economy.

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Last week councillors voted against the plans after a meeting which saw some 50 people attend. In the meeting councillors heard how, in the event of a fire, the nearby A140 could be forced to close for days.

The company behind the proposal - Eco2 Ltd - has said the council was ‘turning its back’ on what would be a huge investment in the local economy.

Director of projects at Eco2, Dr Andrew Toft said: “The political machinery of Mid Suffolk has little choice but to stand behind its decision. Nevertheless, an appeal examines the substance of a refusal and not its volume.

“Closing ranks will not change the result of a public inquiry nor its cost to council tax payers.”

The company has argued the plant could not be built if it would interfere with existing businesses.

In last week’s meeting Dr Toft said systems would be in place to prevent fires and discussions would take place with the fire service.