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Green light for Lambourn renewable power plant

Reporter: Reporter


DISTRICT councillors have granted planning permission for a ‘world class' renewable power station at Ridgeway Grain, near Lambourn, despite much public opposition.
West Berkshire's western area planning committee granted Gloucestershire developers Pure Power Ltd permission last Wednesday to build the station, which will generate a continuous three megawatts of electricity to the local grid – enough electricity to power 8,000 homes.
Before the meeting, the council received about 40 letters of objection to the power station on the grounds that it would have a huge impact on the surrounding area, especially with increased lorry movements on the B4000.
Seven committee members voted in favour of the development, but ward councillor Gordon Lundie (Con, Lambourn Valley), chose not to vote on the proposals after declaring an interest in the development.
Mr Lundie said the initiative sounded good for the environment, but he had concerns over the traffic issues relating to the development, with an anticipated extra 47 movements of HGVs along the B4000 on a daily basis.
Before leaving the meeting, he said: “I hope the development will be turned down because of the impact of increased traffic movements.”
The power station would be governed by the Environment Agency to ensure it meets certain standards of noise levels and air pollution – monitoring the environmental impact of the plant and issuing an enforcement notice if it exceeds the agreed levels.
Pure Power spokesman Adam Overfield said the company would use a pyrolosis process to recover energy from waste materials, chemically decomposing substances by heating them.
“We aim to reduce the environmental impact of such a development and we aim to be CO2 neutral, including in the movement of materials,” he said.
“This is an opportunity to have a world class power station in West Berkshire, which meets all government guidelines.”
Many residents voiced their objections to the development on the grounds of the impact on highways, including Lambourn parish councillor John Cook, who said no other site in Membury requires the volume of HGV traffic that this plant would generate.
His thoughts were echoed by local resident Robin Young, who said “enough is enough” for Ermin Street residents, who feel let down by the council's allowance of “piecemeal development” along the B4000, a road residents feel has reached its traffic volume limit already.
Upon approval, Anthony Stansfeld (Con, Kintbury) said the council should look at alternative access routes to the site, including unused tracks from Membury services, just off the M4.
The council's highways officer, Paul Goddard, said the council was looking to improve the B4000 road and could potentially use a financial contribution from developers to improve access to the site from the motorway via the unused tracks.
No date has yet been set for construction, but council policy states it must be started within three years.

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