Biomass UK No 3 has had its permit application for the proposed Boston Energy Production Facility at Boston, Lincolnshire approved by the Environment Agency.
But the application for a similar plant at Barry, south Wales is to go out for further consultation although Natural Resources Wales has said it is minded to approve an environmental permit for the project.
With regard to the Boston plant, while the applicant described the facility as a renewable energy generation facility, the Agency said that in its view in light of the Industrial Emissions Directive and the Environmental Permitting Regulations it would be deemed a “waste co-incineration plant”. This is because while waste is thermally treated, it is co-incineration as the main purpose is to generate energy through a gasification and turbine process, said the EA.
The plant is being developed by Aviva Investors, an offshoot of the insurance giant Aviva.
Feedstock for the Boston plant will be shredded waste wood prepared off site with a proposed capacity of 86,400 tonnes per annum.
A Fire Prevention Plan (FPP) has also been approved for the site. This includes drainage design that sees fire water entering a drainage system and then overflowing into a “fire water tank” to be tankered away.
The plant comprises one line of a two stage gasification and combustion unit. The waste wood feedstock is fed into the furnace and the resulting syngas is combusted to generate the heat. This heat is used to raise steam in the heat recovery boiler which is fed to a steam turbine to generate electricity.
As well as the Boston project, Aviva Investors has also applied for a permit from Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to operate a biomasss gasification facility in Barry, south Wales.
NRW said this week that that is was “minded” to issue an environmental permit to allow Biomass UK No 2 Ltd to operate its gasification facility in Barry.
The announcement was made at a meeting with representatives from the Docks Incinerator Action Group (DIAG) and the local Assembly Member, Jane Hutt on 13 November.
Following a detailed assessment of the company’s plans, NRW said it was satisfied that appropriate measures will be in place to allow it to operate without damaging the environment or the health of local people. However, a further consultation will take place.
As well as being assessed by NRW’s own internal experts, the regulator said specialist advice had been sought from other organisations such as Public Health Wales, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and South Wales Fire and Rescue Service was also considered.
Before a final decision is made, NRW said it will share the findings of its assessment and the draft conditions for the proposed permit, and will begin a new consultation which will run from late November for a minimum of four weeks.
“We know there has been a lot of concern about this facility and I want to reassure the local community that we would only grant a permit if we were sure that the applicant can meet the strict standard required by the permit.”Nadia De Longhi
Natural Resources Wales
Nadia De Longhi, Operations Manager from NRW said: “We know there has been a lot of concern about this facility and I want to reassure the local community that we would only grant a permit if we were sure that the applicant can meet the strict standard required by the permit.
“We have closely scrutinised the application, and where we’ve needed to, we’ve asked for more detail and clarification to help us reach this decision.”
Ms De Longhi continued: “When the consultation starts, we’ll be happy to consider any new evidence or information that is relevant to our decision.”
NRW is legally required to grant an environmental permit if a company can demonstrate that it can operate within environmental legislation.
The developer already has planning permission from the Vale of Glamorgan council, but also requires an environmental permit to operate its site legally.