'Delight' as wood waste biomass plant approved

18 July 2011

Eco Sustainable Solutions has been given the green light to develop a £12 million wood waste-burning biomass plant in Dorset – four years after first submitting a planning application.

Dorset county council’s planning committee approved the plans at a meeting on Friday (July 15).

Eco managing director Trelawney Dampney welcomed the planning committee's decision
Eco managing director Trelawney Dampney welcomed the planning committee's decision

The plant will burn 25,000 tonnes of waste wood every year and generate up to 3 megawatts of electricity which will be sent to the National Grid.

A planning application for the facility was first submitted in July 2007 (see letsrecycle.com story) and last year Eco expressed its frustration at the time it was taking for the council to make its decision. However, at the time the county council said this was because it was a “sensitive site within the South East Dorset green belt” (see letsrecycle.com story).

The biomass generating station will be built on Eco’s existing composting and wood recycling site at Parley on the outskirts of Christchurch.

Trelawney Dampney, Eco’s managing director, said: “This is a great day for Dorset and for all those who believe in green and sustainable energy.”

He added: “Biomass plants make environmental and economic sense and we’re delighted that, finally, we have received approval for our proposal.”

Work is expected to start later this year and take up to 18 months to complete with the plant likely to be in full operation in early 2013.

HWRCs

Eco’s biomass generator will be fuelled by wood taken by the public to household recycling centres which already arrives at the Parley site to be chipped.

Currently Eco ships the wood chips overseas to countries such as Sweden where they are used as fuel to generate electricity, a situation Mr Dampney has described in the past as “complete madness”.

Eco’s plans were welcomed when they first went out for local consultation in 2006 with groups such as Friends of the Earth backing the proposal.

Mr Dampney said: “The reaction was overwhelmingly positive. The truth is that biomass plants are green-friendly and provide ‘clean’ power.

“It’s a win-win for everyone and we’re now looking forward to starting work on the plant and getting it up and running as quickly as possible.”

Each year, Eco processes 150,000 tonnes of organic waste into products such as turf, enriched topsoil, compost and woodchip.  Founded in 1994, the company employs 45 staff and has more than doubled annual turnover in the last five years to the current £8 million.