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Second power plant approved for Greenham

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Application for generator given green light to go next to biomass plant

TWO power plants are to be built next to each other on the same corner of New Greenham Business Park after an application for an 1,800 sq m generator compound was approved by councillors earlier this month.

Energy firm PeakGen Power Ltd submitted plans in July for the facility which will include 10 diesel and gas-fuelled generator sets and a solar panel installation on land south of Buckner Croke Way.

Another energy firm, Toftech Energy, was granted permission to site a controversial biomass power plant at the same spot last month, despite opposition from parish councillors and residents.

The second proposal, from PeakGen Power, was given the green light by West Berkshire Council on September 9, despite objections from Greenham Parish Council and a local wildlife trust.

In summing up the decision planning officers said: “In economic terms, the application should be encouraged given it will supply potentially vital back up power supplies to the National Grid which will clearly impact upon economic activity should it be rejected.

“In environmental terms, the application has been carefully assessed … and while it is acknowledged that there may be some minor harm on the local noise environment, this will not be so detrimental to local amenity as to merit refusal.”

The report added: “Visual impact and air quality impact is acceptable.”

Now permission has been granted the new development will comprise 10 generators, up to 3.5m in height and surrounded by an acoustic fence.

These units will appear as shipping containers and there will be photo voltaic cells for solar energy on the top of each, so each container will stand at 4.5m height in total.

The energy generated will supply emergency electricity to the National Grid at peak times, particularly during winter nights between 4pm and 7pm.

Planners estimate the compound will run for around 110 hours each year, and a planning condition has been imposed so that it cannot operate more than 500 hours each year.

The noise generated by the plant is estimated to be 33dbl during the day, and 26dbl during the night, which is slightly above whispering.

Greenham Parish Council originally expressed concern over a lack of information with the initial application and The Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust also expressed concerns before the application was decided, citing insufficient information on the impact on reptiles at the site.

Greenham councillor Billy Drummond was also caught at the centre of a “fake flyer” furore last month after an anonymous local resident printed hundreds of flyers alleging – incorrectly – harmful pollutants from the proposed facility would drift towards and affect a nearby school. The leaflets directed calls from concerned residents to the councillor.

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