Swindon Biomass plant plans ‘stuck in limbo’ after application withdrawal

From left, Des Moffatt, Terrie Jones, Paul Saunders and Marie Thatcher, who have led the opposition to the plant

From left, Des Moffatt, Terrie Jones, Paul Saunders and Marie Thatcher, who have led the opposition to the plant

First published in News Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , @BerenCross

PLANS to build a biomass plant in Cheney Manor are on the verge of collapse after Pure Green withdrew its application for an environmental permit with the Environment Agency.

Coun Des Moffatt (Lab, Rodbourne Cheney), who has led opposition to the plans from the start, has said this is a positive step forward for the hundreds of residents against the building of the plant.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said yesterday: “I can confirm that the application submitted by Pure Green to the Environment Agency on August 19, 2013, for a waste wood and biomass boiler at Cheney Manor, was formally withdrawn by the applicant on December 17, 2013.

“The withdrawal of this application does not prevent the operator from applying again.”

The UK offshoot of Hippofan, a European specialist in animal bedding, lodged plans to build the biomass plant at Cheney Manor Industrial Estate with Swindon Council in April last year.

The plans have been at the centre of a number of large public gatherings, including a residents’ meeting, a planning committee and a council meeting.

Under the proposals, the company wants to produce around 50,000 tonnes of animal bedding plus energy at its plant which would see the construction of two chimneys up to 30 metres high.

Despite the withdrawal of the application with the Environment Agency, the plans are not yet dead and buried, with a planning application still awaiting a decision from Swindon Council.

Geoff Fynes, the agent assigned to the application by Pure Green, said: “As far as I am aware the application is still live and under consideration.”

Mr Fynes also said the last time he received instruction from Peter Vandeputte, Pure Green’s lead on the application, was during a meeting with planners shortly before Christmas.

A decision on this planning matter was deferred in August, and would not be considered until Pure Green began a series of consultations with the public, which have yet to take place.

Agents representing the applicants have shown no inclination to begin consultations when asked by the council’s officers for an update on the planning application.

“People need licences to operate and pollute the air, everywhere in the country,” said Coun Moffatt. “They have withdrawn the application with the Environment Agency, which is significant.

“The other thing is that it still needs to go to planning. If they got planning permission they could still go back to the Environment Agency and open up another application.”

Pure Green’s planning application continues to sit on the council’s system, pending a final decision. While Pure Green continues to delay any consultation action, the clock is ticking according, to Coun Moffatt, who said these matters are not allowed to fester and skew the council’s performance figures.

“The whole thing stands in limbo until they do consult or the council tries to dispose of the application. The longer it sits there it damages the council’s performance targets.”

Terri Jones, 60, a self-employed confectioner of Bruce Street, said: “This is fabulous news.

“This sends a message, loud and clear, to Forward Swindon, and the business they attract to Cheney Manor Industrial Estate.

“It is not a place for heavy industry, due to the closeness to the residents and the road infrastructure.”

Comments (14)

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8:29am Wed 22 Jan 14

A.Baron-Cohen says...

Victory for Swindon, Industry and investors not welcome in here.....
Victory for Swindon, Industry and investors not welcome in here..... A.Baron-Cohen
  • Score: 8

9:44am Wed 22 Jan 14

Swindon_AOK says...

Future headline: Local NIMBY's scupper Forward Swindon's investment targets. Labour Group recommend disbandment of 'useless' organisation. LOL
Future headline: Local NIMBY's scupper Forward Swindon's investment targets. Labour Group recommend disbandment of 'useless' organisation. LOL Swindon_AOK
  • Score: 1

9:48am Wed 22 Jan 14

Davethered says...

Well BMW has got two massive unused buildings at the front of their plant in stratton , maybe they could build it there , or failing that seeing as the old airfield in wroughton is having all those solar panels. Maybe they could build it on that land and use the energy from burning to be used on the grid . Or use their great big incinerator to burn the excess landfill waste from all around Swindon. This could be a massive chance for the Town , don't throw it out without first considering what options are available. We need Industry in this town , don't turn it away.
Well BMW has got two massive unused buildings at the front of their plant in stratton , maybe they could build it there , or failing that seeing as the old airfield in wroughton is having all those solar panels. Maybe they could build it on that land and use the energy from burning to be used on the grid . Or use their great big incinerator to burn the excess landfill waste from all around Swindon. This could be a massive chance for the Town , don't throw it out without first considering what options are available. We need Industry in this town , don't turn it away. Davethered
  • Score: 7

9:52am Wed 22 Jan 14

Morsey says...

A very sensible solution, we hope? The trading estate has become engulfed by mainly residential development since it was opened. presumably to be for engineering / manufacturing / storage and now sits well away from good transport links as well.

I imagine there was some rather attractive offer put to this company to try and position it as near to the tip as possible and maybe FS were acting more as front runners than the company themselves? The whole thing is very suspicious.
A very sensible solution, we hope? The trading estate has become engulfed by mainly residential development since it was opened. presumably to be for engineering / manufacturing / storage and now sits well away from good transport links as well. I imagine there was some rather attractive offer put to this company to try and position it as near to the tip as possible and maybe FS were acting more as front runners than the company themselves? The whole thing is very suspicious. Morsey
  • Score: -2

11:08am Wed 22 Jan 14

Hels-bells says...

Parts of Cheney Manor Industrial Estate are in such a state of disrepair, it seems silly to turn away Industry companies who actually want to make use of it but at the same time I understand that the road links in/out are not suitable for large trucks. It's a horrible road to drive along with potholes, burst water mains and so many buildings with smashed windows or hoardings where buildings used to be. There are some great little companies hidden away in some of the buildings but it can't do them much good when the road links are so unloved by whoever is supposed to look after them.
Parts of Cheney Manor Industrial Estate are in such a state of disrepair, it seems silly to turn away Industry companies who actually want to make use of it but at the same time I understand that the road links in/out are not suitable for large trucks. It's a horrible road to drive along with potholes, burst water mains and so many buildings with smashed windows or hoardings where buildings used to be. There are some great little companies hidden away in some of the buildings but it can't do them much good when the road links are so unloved by whoever is supposed to look after them. Hels-bells
  • Score: 2

12:01pm Wed 22 Jan 14

EmmBee says...

Not even NIMBY, this sounds bananas...
Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything.
Not even NIMBY, this sounds bananas... Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything. EmmBee
  • Score: -4

12:29pm Wed 22 Jan 14

The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man says...

http://www.bbc.co.uk
/news/health-2583929
7
http://www.bbc.co.uk /news/health-2583929 7 The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man
  • Score: 3

1:09pm Wed 22 Jan 14

beach1e says...

well done for turning away investment, cheney manor is now a dump with derelict buildings that nobody cares about, it will be getting worse and worse, yet another terrible area of Swindon.
well done for turning away investment, cheney manor is now a dump with derelict buildings that nobody cares about, it will be getting worse and worse, yet another terrible area of Swindon. beach1e
  • Score: -4

1:56pm Wed 22 Jan 14

timt1964 says...

as usual the nimby yokels have scared away more investment/jobs for swindon.funny how one of the "protesters" locked in a cage in the picture is m.thatcher.look what the other one did? funny how any new development is going to cause "traffic chaos and nuisance to residents".maybe the adver can run a headline proclaiming the 21st century has already begun so the town doesnt get dragged even further behind other places by negative attitudes.
as usual the nimby yokels have scared away more investment/jobs for swindon.funny how one of the "protesters" locked in a cage in the picture is m.thatcher.look what the other one did? funny how any new development is going to cause "traffic chaos and nuisance to residents".maybe the adver can run a headline proclaiming the 21st century has already begun so the town doesnt get dragged even further behind other places by negative attitudes. timt1964
  • Score: -7

3:42pm Wed 22 Jan 14

BWB says...

yes i am a nimby. I live near to this proposed site.
There is also a school nearby,do we want our children to breath in carcinogenic (cancer) particles NO.
Do we want our washing covered in **** NO
Do we want large vehicles cloging our roads 24/7 NO
yes i am a nimby. I live near to this proposed site. There is also a school nearby,do we want our children to breath in carcinogenic (cancer) particles NO. Do we want our washing covered in **** NO Do we want large vehicles cloging our roads 24/7 NO BWB
  • Score: 4

4:37pm Wed 22 Jan 14

swinres says...

I live downwind of this proposed plant as well and do not want to have to keep my windows shut all year to keep out the toxic smog.

The company name and the description biomass plant are fraudulent as they propose to burn industrial waste in the form of chipboard leftover from manufacturing and not plant materials, then generate very little electricity as most of the power goes to dry that most essential of material 'animal bedding'. They are just using environmentally friendly sounding buzzwords as a smokescreen to get permission.

The number of employees is going to be very small so is not going to add much to the town anyway.

If it gets built and most of Swindon gets smothered in poisonous fumes, as they have admitted could happen and claim to be able solve by sprinkling fairy dust in the furnace, then it will be too late to do anything about it.
I live downwind of this proposed plant as well and do not want to have to keep my windows shut all year to keep out the toxic smog. The company name and the description biomass plant are fraudulent as they propose to burn industrial waste in the form of chipboard leftover from manufacturing and not plant materials, then generate very little electricity as most of the power goes to dry that most essential of material 'animal bedding'. They are just using environmentally friendly sounding buzzwords as a smokescreen to get permission. The number of employees is going to be very small so is not going to add much to the town anyway. If it gets built and most of Swindon gets smothered in poisonous fumes, as they have admitted could happen and claim to be able solve by sprinkling fairy dust in the furnace, then it will be too late to do anything about it. swinres
  • Score: 4

6:15pm Wed 22 Jan 14

batch says...

Ignoring the environmental impact (which we shouldn't), this is common sense on a traffic point of view.

There has to be a better site the Cheney Manor.
Ignoring the environmental impact (which we shouldn't), this is common sense on a traffic point of view. There has to be a better site the Cheney Manor. batch
  • Score: 3

7:03pm Wed 22 Jan 14

Bert of Bassett says...

Sounds like a good result.
Wherever the plant is built the fumes will affect a wider area.
Sounds like a good result. Wherever the plant is built the fumes will affect a wider area. Bert of Bassett
  • Score: 3

7:09pm Wed 22 Jan 14

timt1964 says...

yes and we are all getting our brains fried by our mobiles,scaremongeri
ng never got us anywhere but what do you expect in "forward" swindon
yes and we are all getting our brains fried by our mobiles,scaremongeri ng never got us anywhere but what do you expect in "forward" swindon timt1964
  • Score: -4

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