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Last Updated: Monday, 18 October, 2004, 14:23 GMT 15:23 UK
'Limited impact' of power plant
Winkleigh Airfield
Plans have been submitted to Torridge District Council
A proposed new power station in north Devon will have little impact on the environment, except for people living close by, according to a new report.

Plans for a renewable energy biomass plant at Winkleigh were submitted to Torridge District Council last week.

An environmental impact assessment into Peninsula Power's 40m proposal was funded by the South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA).

The proposals have caused considerable concern among local residents.

The report suggests that, in a worst case scenario, a biomass plant would increase traffic flows by less than 2%.

We need to have as many facts as possible in order to give a considered view to the local planning authority
Claire Gibson, SWRDA
It says the visual effects of the plant would be severe for those who were immediately adjacent to the site, but further afield the development's effect would be limited because of undulating landform and tree cover.

In its conclusion, the report states that there are likely to be some adverse environmental impacts during construction and operation.

But it adds the plant has been designed to minimise adverse environmental impacts where possible.

It also identifies ecological benefits because of the proposed landscaping and planting.

Access findings

The proposed plant would be built on the 36-acre former Winkleigh Airfield, which is owned by the SWRDA.

But the SWRDA says it will only sell the land to Peninsula Power if the proposed biomass plant receives the necessary planning and environmental consents.

Claire Gibson, head of Planning, Transport and Environment at the SWRDA, says the studies were funded to enable the agency to consider the proposal and to ensure as many people as possible could have access to the findings.

She said: "By law we have to be consulted about renewable energy projects of this scale, so we need to have as many facts as possible in order to give a considered view to the local planning authority.

"Additionally, we wanted to place the reports on our website so the local community could use the factual information to help them respond to Peninsula Power's planning application."

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16 Jan 04  |  Scotland

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