5:10pm Wednesday 25th July 2012
By Matt Smith
THE developer behind a proposed power plant at Southampton docks has insisted it will press ahead with the scheme.
It comes after councillors agreed planning objections to the controversial scheme.
Around 60 residents attended a meeting where councillors agreed a formal response to a consultation by Helius Energy on revised plans for a 100-megawatt biomass plant, 250 metres from the nearest homes in Millbrook.
Planners revealed they had received 239 written objections.
Councillors agreed “insufficient” detail had been provided to properly assess impact on air quality and that the “inappropriate size” and “poor architectural” quality of the proposed plant were unacceptable.
They also wanted specific details about how steam and hot water from the plant would be reused locally.
The 800,000 tonnes of wood fuel to be burnt at the power station would be in excess of limits set out in a forthcoming countywide minerals and waste plan, councillors noted.
The No Southampton Biomass campaign group accused Helius of manipulating computer images to show the proposed power station from the best angles and said the consultation was inadequate.
They said the plant was still too big, too close to homes, not green and would pollute the already poor local air quality.
Campaigner Eloisa Gil- Arranz told the meeting: “It’s an ill-conceived monstrosity whose sole purpose is to line the pockets of Heluis fat cats.”
Council leader Richard Williams said: “We are sending a clear signal to Helius that Southampton does not want their proposed power station and we will object to their current plans.”
Helius planning director Paul Brighton said the public consultation, which runs until August 3, had been a “full programme” and insisted the biomass plant was needed to help cut carbon emissions. “If climate change was not an issue we would not be here,” he said.
He said the objections would be “carefully considered” to help Helius “refine” its proposals but anticipated a planning application would be submitted to the National Infrastructure Directorate by the end of the year, which will recommend to Government whether to give the final go-ahead.
Speaking after the meeting Mr Brighton denied images had been manipulated.
He said: “We commissioned three independent and experienced professional consultants to undertake the preparation of the images on our behalf.
"The photomontages that they produced conform to the technical guidelines for such images set out in the Landscape Institute’s professional guidance for such work.
"The 21 viewpoints selected were agreed in advance with Southampton City Council as part of the scoping of the environmental statement and were surveyed to verify the accuracy of the images."
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