Initial public reaction heard regarding Snetterton Biomass Plant

A proposed renewable energy plant was greeted with overwhelmingly positive comments at a public open day yesterday.fri

If given the go-ahead, the plant, at Snetterton Heath, near the A11, would generate 40MW of electricity a year by burning straw and wood chip.

Applicant Iceni Energy says it will generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 65,000 homes and would cut emissions of carbon dioxide.

The plant could also help unlock Breckland Council's plans to double the current 30ha of business and light industry at Snetterton Heath –including further development of Snetterton Race Circuit – which is currently constrained by the lack of spare capacity in existing electricity.

The open day at Eccles village hall, near Quidenham, which featured information on the plant and staff who were on hand to answer questions, was popular, with people arriving from the start of the session.

Paul Plumer, 54, a blacksmith from Mattishall, said: 'I think it's a good idea. The only thing I'm worried about for them is whether there is enough straw, but I'm sure they've worked it all out.

'Snetterton has a problem because it can't expand at the moment because there isn't enough electricity. This will provide that as well as heat so I think it's a good idea. 'Yes, there's going to be traffic but there are the road systems to cope with that.'

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David Hunt, 60, a driver and Quidenham parish councillor from Eccles, said he also believed the plant would be of benefit to the area.

'I've seen what the waste burner in Thetford is doing and this seems as if it will a lot cleaner,' he said. 'Plus, I think there's got to be a solution to the energy in the area.

'It's going to provide jobs in the short term and in the long term and the numbers are high for this area.

'When you think about putting more industry in this area it's also going to provide jobs in that way.'

However 25-year-old Jeni Lentin, also a Quidenham parish councillor, from Eccles, disagreed, adding: 'They're marketing this as green but it will increase the number of vehicles.

'I know they say they will be run on biofuel but there will be more travelling to and from the plant. I think they're looking too short term - this is like having a wood burner in your home.'

The proposed Snetterton Biomass Plant, which could provide a connection to the national grid, would provide up to 36 permanent jobs when operational, a further 50 jobs in fuel transportation and, during construction, an average of 120 people would be employed on site each day.

The biomass plant could provide a connection to the national grid.

It is hoped all straw could be sourced from 50km of the plant and it is expected the plant would consume 4,800 tonnes of straw per week.

A second session will be held at The Garnier Village Hall on Station Road in Eccles tomorrowfrom 10am to 4pm.

rebecca.gough@archant.co.uk.

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