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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 April 2006, 15:26 GMT 16:26 UK
Green power plant plans rejected
Winkleigh airfield
The power station was proposed for a former World War II airfield
Plans for a 43m renewable energy biomass plant in north Devon have been rejected by councillors.

Torridge councillors agreed with officials that the 43m plant was too big for the site on a disused airfield at Winkleigh.

The planning committee voted overwhelmingly against the proposals at a meeting at Winkleigh Sports Centre.

There were cheers and gasps from the audience which had packed the sports hall for the meeting.

'Ignoring issues'

Peninsula Power, a consortium of local businessmen, wanted to build the plant on nine acres (3.6 hectares) of the site, a former World War II airfield.

Biomass is plant material that is burned, creating renewable energy.

The 23 mega-watt plant would have been fuelled by a mixture of fast-growing crops, such as willow and miscanthus grass, as well as cellulosic fibre, created from household waste.

It would have provided enough electricity for 23,000 homes.

Peninsula Power said before the decision was announced that those against the scheme were ignoring issues such as climate change and government targets which required 15% of renewable electricity in Devon by 2010.

It said that it aimed to source all crops from within a 25-mile (40km) radius of the plant, and all non-crop biomass such as cellulosic fibre would have been supplied from within Devon.

Officials who had recommended councillors reject the plans said the project would be too big and would involve excessive transport distances.

The South West of England Regional Development Agency said it was disappointed at the decision, which it described as a setback to the development of biomass in the region.

The agency spent almost 589,000 on the project, with 412,000 being used to acquire the site.

The future of the land now depends on the outcome of any appeal lodged by Peninsula Power.

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31 Mar 06 |  Devon
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30 Mar 06 |  Science/Nature
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27 Jan 06 |  Scotland
UK boost for biomass fuel crops
19 Oct 04 |  Science/Nature

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