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Biomass lobby warns industry may not fulfill potential

A recently launched biomass industry lobby group has welcomed the latest acceptance of application for a new Biomass power station.

The Back Biomass Campaign said it welcomed the announcement by developer RES that its application for the Battleship Wharf plant in the Port of Blyth had been accepted by the Planning Inspectorate “moving the project a step closer to realisation”.

But, the campaign warned that without a “proper regulatory framework and clearly defined support levels”, the biomass industry will be unable to deliver potential economic and environmental benefits.

The Battleship Wharf plant is seeking a Development Consent Order from the Planning Inspectorate that will lead to a further round of consultation on RES’s proposals”

The plant will generate 750GWh of energy by burning wood biomass fuel from sustainable forestry material and non-recyclable waste wood.

The Back Biomass Campaign said: “The 300 jobs that facility could provide demonstrates the capacity of the biomass industry to deliver economic as well as environmental dividends.

“This project highlights how biomass can make a real contribution to green growth and jobs in the UK by harnessing an existing skills base and infrastructure, helping to develop existing sectors such as farm diversification and improved forestry management.”

In March, the biomass sector came under fire from leading timber industry figures following the launch of an all-party Parliamentary biomass group.

David Hopkins, head of external affairs at the Timber Trade Federation, criticised the group’s focus on large-scale biomass.

He said the timber industry was being “put at risk by short-termism in Government energy policy, whereby energy companies are subsidised to buy wood to burn, often in large, inefficient, and environmentally unsound electricity plants.” 

Hopkins told MRW that while he supported some end-of-life wood being used for biomass, waste wood should often be recycled rather than burnt.

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