Planners give waste plant proposal a boost

MULTI-MILLION-pound plans to build a waste-burning plant in Peterborough could be one step closer to reality.

Despite the city council having opposed a previous scheme drawn up by Peterborough Renewable Energy Ltd (PREL), planning officers now say the £250 million state-of-the-art energy park, which would be built on a site off Storeys Bar Road, would bring a number of “positive benefits” to the city if plans get the go-ahead.

And in a report to be considered at a hastily-called extraordinary general meeting of the city council on Tuesday, planners have raised just a handful of concerns which they say must be satisfied for the scheme to secure their support when it is considered by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) later this year.

They say the proposed energy-recovery incinerator at the heart of the project would “eliminate” the need for landfill and have a “positive role” in respect to climate change.

“The Energy Park has the capacity to deliver long and short-term employment, training and educational benefits to the Central and East Peterborough Neighbourhood Investment Areas,” the report says.

“Overall, if the proposed development was implemented, this would bring positive benefits for Peterborough.”

It is expected, however, that councillors will still object to the scheme on the grounds that the proposals “lack” the information necessary to make a “positive” recommendation at this stage.

These include a detailed plan on highway and access issues, safety concerns regarding the proximity to gas pipelines, and justification on developing the site in the countryside.

However, the recommendation to councillors is to submit a holding objection which could be overturned if “some fundamental information is submitted prior to determination of the application”.

The proposed facility would be capable of processing or recycling up to 650,000 tonnes of commercial, agricultural and other waste, biomass and bio-crops, and would generate 66 megawatts of electricity annually.

Managing director of PREL Chris Williams said he was confident the necessary amendments and clarifications would be made to satisfy concerns.

He said: “We do not believe that any of the problems identified cannot be overcome quickly and easily, and we are confident that, with the support of our city councillors, we can make Peterborough’s dream happen.”

Leader of the city council John Peach said he was unable to comment on whether councillors were for or against the proposals until after the meeting.

However, he said that no matter what decision was made, the council’s £38 million plans for an incinerator of its own – just 400 yards away from the PREL site – would still go ahead.

The council says it needs to find new ways of disposing of waste to avoid the threat of massive fines imposed for using landfill sites.

Speaking slots to be allocated at town hall meeting

People who have previously made comments on the proposed energy park will have an opportunity to speak at the meeting on Tuesday, 13 January at Peterborough Town Hall.

The debate starts at 7pm, includes opportunities for a limited number of people to speak for up to two minutes each.

Speaking slots will be allocated on a “first-come” basis, and people must apply by calling Carol Tilley on 01733 452344, or e-mailing carol.tilley@peterborough. by 4pm on 12 January.

There will also be a 40-minute slot for the applicants and any supporters to speak.

Comments expressed during the debate will be submitted to a meeting of the city council’s cabinet on 2 February, prior to a final recommendation being made to the Department for Energy and Climate Change.

Source: Peterborough ET

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