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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 March 2007, 21:47 GMT
Protest is held at plant debate
Ariel view of planned site in Port Talbot
The power station is planned for land near the deep water harbour
A protest has been held outside a planning meeting over a 400m wood chip burning power station in Port Talbot.

Prenergy Power has applied to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for consent for the plant on industrial land close to the deep water harbour.

A 640-signature petition opposed to the plan went before Neath Port Talbot's planning committee on Tuesday.

Council officers recommended the plant be approved but councillors deferred a final decision for a site visit.

If approved, the station would burn around three million tonnes of chippings shipped in each year.

It would also contribute about 70% of the Welsh Assembly Government's renewable energy generation target by 2010 for the whole of Wales.

It's detrimental to the huge amount of money spent on regenerating Aberavon seafront
Councillor Ted Latham

Prenergy claims the use of wood chip as a fuel for electricity generation is recognised as being carbon free.

They say the CO2 released is equal to that absorbed during the growth of the tree, and replanting the trees ensures sustainability.

The planned power station would also create around 150 permanent jobs.

But there has been a local campaign against the proposal.

Sandfields councillor Ted Latham said: "The main objections are over the health and well-being of people in the area.

"We are concerned about extra pollution on top of that we are already experiencing from the steelworks.

"The boundary of the proposed development is only 200 metres from the nearest residential area and also it's detrimental to the huge amount of money spent on regenerating Aberavon seafront."

Mr Latham said he was "happy" with the outcome of the planning meeting.

He added: "It went well and we were able to put our case forward.

"The councillors can now visit the site and see it for themselves."

The Department of Trade and Industry will have the final say on the plans but would have to hold a public inquiry if Neath Port Talbot councillors object.

The council report which went before Tuesday's meeting stated predicted emissions from the plant "would not have a significant effect on air quality" for surrounding areas and the visual impact was in keeping with the surrounding industrial area.

Wood chip plant faces opposition
27 Oct 06 |  South West Wales

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