COUNCILLORS in Southampton have this morning agreed holding objections to controversial plans for a wood-fired power station at the city's western docks.

Around 60 residents attended a planning meeting to agree a formal council response to a consultation by developers Helius Energy on revised plans for a 100-megawatt biomass plant, 250 metres from the nearest homes in Millbrook.

The No Southampton Biomass campaign group said it was an "ill conceived monstrosity" that was still too big, too close to homes and still not green.

Councillors approved recommendations from planners who said “insufficient” detail has been provided to properly assess the scheme's impact on air quality and that “inappropriate size” and “poor architectural” quality of the proposed power plant was not acceptable.

While the council has no objection to the principle of biomass as a renewable energy source, councillors also wanted specific details about how steam and hot water from the plant could be reused in a district heating scheme.

Councillors also said the amount 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.

A formal planning application is expected to be submitted to the National Infrastructure Directorate in the autumn, which will recommend to the Government whether the project should go ahead.

Helius planning director Paul Brighton defended the public consultation and insisted the biomass power plant was needed to help tackle climate change.

It would generate enough electricity for 200,000 homes.

Council leader Richard Williams said: “Today 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.

“Unless they can address questions about air quality, impact on the environment and the reuse of waste heat and power generated on site, we will continue to object to this enormous eyesore being built in our city.”