PLANS to build a £7.5m power station have been given the go-ahead in a move that will help secure more than 100 jobs.

The award-winning Double H Nurseries has received consent to construct a biomass plant that will heat the huge greenhouses by burning 20,000 tonnes of waste wood products a year.

Bosses at the company say the scheme will cut costs, making the business more competitive, as well as reducing the site’s carbon footprint.

The combined heat and power plant will be 30 metres long and 12 metres high, making it taller than the glasshouses.

The scheme also includes an 18-metre high chimney.

Plans to construct the new complex on green belt land off Gore Road, New Milton, were submitted to Hampshire County Council earlier this year.

The application said the site’s current heating system used gas and oil, both of which were becoming increasingly scarce and expensive.

It added: “As professional growers, the owners and management of Double H Nurseries are very aware of the effects of global warming and the influence of CO2 levels on our environment.

“They are keen to become actively involved in efforts to slow global warming and preserve fossil fuels for future generations.”

Now the scheme has been approved by council’s regulatory committee.

A report to members said: “The proposal would help secure the viability of the business, which has to compete with imports from abroad, whilst also securing the employment of a significant number of staff.”

The report acknowledged that the site was on green belt land but said the scheme was considered acceptable within the exceptions allowed.

David Stevenson, a director of Double H Nurseries, said: “We’re delighted with the decision, which will create long-term security for the business and the 110 people who work here.”

The scheme coincides with plans to build a £300m biomass plant in Southampton docks.

Helius Energy changed the original design after an avalanche of objections but the latest proposals have also come under fire from residents and politicians.