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Fresh look at plan for biomass plant
THE developers of a proposed biomass plant in north Swindon have announced they are pushing forward with a reduced application.
Peter Vandeputte, the chief executive of Pure Green, said a 30- metre high chimney and the production of renewable energy will be removed from their planning application.
Under the company’s revised plans it will focus on producing animal bedding at the Cheney Manor Industrial Estate.
Mr Vandeputte said Pure Green will use virgin timber, a wet type of wood, to produce the bedding. To dry the timber, he said the most sustainable method was to build a biomass and create renewable energy as well.
But, following a huge public outcry during a council planning committee hearing last month, the company proposed to withdraw the production of energy.
“This activity [energy production] was secondary,” said Mr Vandeputte.
He said he would be happy to host a public meeting with residents. “We can do that if people come with an open mind and leave their prejudices behind,” he said. “We really hope that the people of Swindon and their representatives know that we offer them a low carbon industrial activity, jobs and investment.
“The wider perspective is that we avoid transporting all that virgin wood to Belgium, where it is dried, put in bags and then exported back to the UK. “All this transport is done with fossil fuel, creating greenhouse gasses and heating up our beautiful planet. When reason is back, our project will receive the support it merits.”
Under the plan for the reduced application, which has still not been submitted to the council, the site at the former SquareD factory would produce 50,000 tonnes of animal bedding a year. HGVs would be used to transport this to and from the site.
Mr Vandeputte said a transport assessment was carried out by an outside body and they found the impact on the local travel would be less than 0.1 per cent.
Paul Saunders, who was nominated to represent residents, said nothing had changed. He said there would be no way of knowing if the developers used virgin woods or other types of waste wood for the bedding as once it has been chopped into small pieces it all looks the same.
“We don’t trust him at all now,” said Paul, of Manor Gardens. “He’s still going to use an incinerator. “It’s completely the wrong place for it – more schools are going to be built around the Hreod area. “It’s like going back to the dark ages when we would shove children up chimneys.”
“I’m not in the game of negotiation, nor are the residents,” he said. “We will evaluate this if and when it arrives with the council.”
Before revised proposals can go before the council’s Pure Green has to presenta consultation strategy which should involve public meetings with residents.
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