Concern over 90 metre chimney at Generation Park in Norwich

Architects' image of what the proposed Generation Park in Norwich would look like.

Architects' image of what the proposed Generation Park in Norwich would look like. - Credit: Archant

Concerns have been raised over emissions from a £370m energy park proposed for the edge of Norwich.

Generation Park could see a straw pellet-burning plant – complete with a 90-metre chimney – and a housing and education development built on wasteland between Thorpe Hamlet and Whitlingham.

Supporters say it would be a shot in the arm for the region's economy and put the city at the forefront of tackling climate change.

But there are concerns over the environmental and visual impact on the surrounding area once the 30-acre development is built.

Broadland councillors, who are being consulted on the plan, yesterday decided to defer their decision, saying they needed more information on the environmental impact of the plume which will come out of the chimney.


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The chimney emissions would only be visible for a maximum of 6.1pc of daylight hours, and according to Generation Park, would only produce warm air combined with elements from the straw.

But Broadland's senior environmental health officer, Suzie Flatt, has recommended the developer carries out assessments for chemicals which could be sprayed on to the straw by farmers.

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The University of East Anglia is one of the prime investors in the scheme which would produce electricity for major power users and heat for businesses and houses through a district heating network.

The vision also includes 120 homes, student accommodation, an education centre, a research base, 11 acres of parkland, plus new cycle routes and walkways.

Trevor Davies, from the UEA School of Environmental Science, made reassurances over the emissions.

He said: 'The air quality assessment indicates, following Environment Agency guidelines, that the effect of the visible plume will be 'insignificant'. The reason the plume will become visible on a small number of occasions is because condensation of water vapour in the plume will cause small water droplets to form.'

The visibility of the chimney has also been raised as a concern, especially for those living in Thorpe St Andrew where there is a collection of Grade II* and Grade II listed buildings.

But Prof Davies said the visual impact had been assessed in detail in two scenarios over a five-year period.

Norwich City Council and the Broads Authority are the two planning authorities with the final decision on the scheme.

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