People living near the site of a £250m biomass power station to be built in Northumberland have been congratulated by their local MP for their work in scrutinising the project.
Residents in North Blyth and Cambois – who opposed the 100-megawatt generating plant planned by RES – attended a series of public hearings during a six-month examination process conducted by the Planning Inspectorate.
They have raised their concerns about the size of the plant, its proximity to local homes and issues such as potential air pollution, traffic and safety problems.
Last week Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey gave the formal green light for the scheme after it was recommended for approval by the Planning Inspectorate.
It will be built on Port of Blyth-owned land at Battleship Wharf, in the River Blyth Estuary, and will create between 200 and 300 construction jobs, and about 50 permanent posts.
Yesterday Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery welcomed the employment boost for a jobs-hit area, but said the concerns of local people had to be carefully considered during both the construction and generation phases.
“The local residents’ group which opposed this plant has done a wonderful job and been in constant dialogue with RES about the problems which they believe they will face.
“I would like to congratulate and thank them for the work they have done because they have left no stone unturned.
“Of course I welcome the jobs involved for this area, because that is really important, but we should never dismiss the worries and concerns of residents who live there. The campaign group has had to reluctantly accept that this plant is going to be built, but will closely monitor and police the actions of RES right from the time of construction up to generation.
“My first duty as MP is to support the local residents of North Blyth and Cambois.
“We also have to ensure that the immediate area gets priority in terms of the community benefits money which comes from this scheme.”
RES says the station will provide enough low-carbon electricity to power 170,000 homes a year. The plant will include a group of fuel storage buildings up to 25 metres tall and a 60/70m-tall boiler house, with a chimney up to 100m tall.
RES says it expects to start construction work next year, with the project taking about two and a half years to complete.
A company spokeswoman said it will now undertake detailed, pre-construction environmental and engineering studies.
“RES will continue to work with the community liaison group and ensure that the local community is informed ahead of project milestones,” she added.