Green light for energy plans

A KEY energy company in Lynemouth is moving forward with plans to use biomass fuel after being given planning permission for a new facility.

Plans to construct the fuel handling facility at Rio Tinto Alcan have been given the green light by Northumberland County Council’s Planning and Environment Committee, despite concerns from residents and councillors.

They included fears about the speed of site traffic through the village and the increase in vehicles, with an estimated 180 wagons using the road from the current estimate of 108.

Tom Oliver, from the Woodhorn Village Residents’ Association, said: “In the past we have raised objections to a number of planning applications on HGV numbers, but this is a big increase.

“The proposed increase in HGV traffic, already high for a C class road, intensifies the pressure on the village.

“The noise, pollution and nuisance produced by existing traffic levels already impacts upon residents’ ability to enjoy their outdoor environment, further increases will exacerbate the situation.”

Senior planning officer Joe Nugent told the committee officers were aware the area was an “accident traffic blackspot” and would work with Alcan to install an interactive speed sign and monitor the speed of traffic.

Despite the concerns of some members, the report was unanimously agreed.

The new storage facility will comprise up to 10 pellet storage silos with a capacity of up to 75,000 tonnes, and will be located within the existing coal yard.

Ancillary equipment and services includes electrical infrastructure, dust abatement equipment and fire detection and supression systems.

The biomass fuel handling facility will result in the entire redevelopment of the existing coal stock yard at the power station and assist in enabling the conversion of the power station from coal firing to biomass.

In its application, Alcan stated that a major increase in the costs of buying allowances to cover the carbon dioxide emissions associated with the combustion of coal from 2013 would make the coal-fired operation of the power station economically unsustainable.