Biomass plant at Snetterton given approval

A biomass plant set to create energy by burning straw and wood chip will be built off the A11 after planning officials granted permission for the scheme to go-ahead.

Objections had been raised from nearby parishes over fears there could be an increase in traffic and a rise in straw prices, noise and light pollution, and five speakers took to the floor to reiterate concerns at today's (Monday) meeting.

Applicant Iceni Engery Ltd however said it was 'delighted' with the news to build the 40MW plant on land at Snetterton heath, on a nine-hectare patch of agricultural land between Thetford and Attleborough, which it said would generate enough electricity to power 68,000 homes.

The plans will also include a substation which could help overcome an energy shortfall in the area by providing a connection to the National Grid.

Speaking after the meeting Shropham councillor Philip Cowen, who objected to the proposal, said he was 'disappointed' by the result. 'I think this is a poor decision,' he added. 'I understand why it's been made and obviously there's a need for power in Snetterton but the end doesn't justify the means. 'All we've done is create a time-bomb for the community.

'We have all these power stations being proposed but farmers are already struggling to find straw. There's an awful problem looming which we need to be mindful of.'

Chief executive officer of Iceni Energy, Andy Hilton, attempted to allay fears during the meeting and said he had ben assured by Anglia Farmers, which was contracted to provide straw for the plant, that there was enough straw not to create a deficit for farmers.

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He added work was due to begin in spring next year, at the earliest, with construction expected to take about two-and-a-half years.

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