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Tilbury fire sparks Biomass safety warning

Biomass plants pose “considerable public safety risks”, environmental campaigners have claimed, following a blaze at Tilbury power station in Essex.

Friends of the Earth Scotland said the fire at the Essex facility, Britain’s largest dedicated biomass plant, highlighted risks about the activity and vindicated its objections to the plants.  

FoE Scotland policy officer Francis Stuart said: “This is the second fire at a woodchip biomass storage facility in the UK in the last six months and is of some concern.

”Clearly power stations that store large amounts of combustible materials onsite pose considerable public safety risks.

“It is paramount that the highest safety standards are followed, especially when the sites are close to people’s homes as would be the case if the large-scale biomass proposals for Dundee, Rosyth and Grangemouth get the go-ahead.”

RWE npower, which owns the Tilbury plant, said the fire broke out at 7:45am in a fuel storage area at the station but all employees have been accounted for. (Photo from Sky News).

“The fire involves some 4,000 tonnes of fuel in storage cells. At least two are very well alight,” the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said.

The 750mW power plant is on the site of the utility’s ageing Tilbury coal-fired power plant.

The plant, which only recently became fully operational, will run on biomass until the scheduled closure of the power station under the Large Combustion Plant Directive (LCPD) by the end of 2015.

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