Changes To Southampton Biomass Plant

A consultation on Southampton’s sustainable energy future is to be launched next week (May 14).

Biomass energy specialist Helius Energy will be writing to approximately 25,000 households and business and holding five public exhibitions for local people about its revised proposals for a renewable energy plant.

This is the heart of a planned programme of public engagement set out in a Further Statement of Community Consultation published by Helius Energy today (May 8) on its revised proposals for a biomass fuelled power station in the Western Docks in the Port of Southampton.

After consulting with the community last year, Helius has significantly revised its proposals to address concerns that were raised. The new plans, to be unveiled in detail next week, are for a facility twice as far from the nearest residents, that is lower in height and has a smaller building footprint.

Local people will also be offered the chance to influence which of three architect-designed approaches for the external design of the power station is taken forward.

As part of the consultation process, updated environmental information will also be published.

The public consultation will run for 12 weeks, starting on Monday 14th May 2012. Local residents and those who have commented on the previous proposals will receive information on the revised scheme and details of the public exhibitions during the first week of the consultation period.

The proposal is for a plant fuelled by sustainably sourced biomass and generating approximately 100 megawatts of electricity – enough to power 200,000 homes. The power station would save the equivalent of 470,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent from being emitted into the atmosphere compared with an average fossil fuel plant. That's the same as the annual emissions of almost 150,000 cars. The plant will also have the capability to supply heat for residential, commercial and industrial users in the vicinity.

It is estimated the scheme will create 100 direct and indirect jobs in Southampton and contribute around £10m every year to the city’s economy.

The project team from Helius Energy will be meeting local people to answer their questions about the proposals at a series of public exhibitions to be held in Millbrook, Freemantle and Marchwood.

Paul Brighton, Helius Energy’s Planning Director, said: "We listened carefully to what people had to say in our consultation last year and we believe our revised proposals have really addressed those concerns."We are committed to carrying out a full and inclusive public consultation that gives people detailed information about our scheme, so they can make their minds up based on the facts.

"All the public consultation information, including images of the new proposals will be available on the project website – – from 14th May 2012."

The project is classified as a ‘Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project’ under the Planning Act 2008. Following the end of the public consultation on 3rd August, 2012, all the comments received will be considered before an application for a Development Consent Order is submitted to the National Infrastructure Directorate of the Planning Inspectorate later in the year.