Biomass plans to boost the economy in Pembrokeshire

The annual operational costs of the proposed sustainable centre of excellence at Milford Haven will be approximately £9.15M. However project developers believe the new development will boost Pembrokeshire's economy.

The current plans include the construction of 49.9MW Biomass to Energy Facility (BtEf); the advanced conversion of carbon to aviation fuel, fish and prawn farms, algae production units; cheese production, greenhouses, a facility for the preparation and sale of farmed produce; research and development, and a new grid connection.

Energy firm Egnedol has presented its plans for Blackbridge. PICTURE: Martin Cavaney.Source: Western Telegraph

The proposed project will utilise around 480,000 tonnes of biomass a year to generate 49.9 MW of electricity.

A detailed Environmental Impact Assessment was recently published explaining that the first phase of the development project would create 450 full times jobs.The project is also expected to create an additional 300 jobs during construction.

The combined operational and maintenance costs of the proposed development are said to be in the region of £9.15 million per annum.

The report states: “A significant proportion of this will serve to directly benefit the local economy in terms of employees’ wages, local purchases and local capital expenditure. It is expected that annual expenditure of this level could indirectly create additional jobs having a positive impact on the local economy.”

It is hoped that the proposed development will act as a catalyst for similar low carbon generation facilities, with a template developed by the Milford Haven facility.

Concerns raised at a local community liaison meeting included transport and access issues, odour and noise, emissions and pollution, while positives put forward were job creation, sustainability and the approachability of Egnedol staff.

Measures have been proposed to minimise odour, traffic concerns, and wildlife impact, such as setting aside tunnels for bat habitats and creating a new access road to serve the Blackbridge site.

The assessment states that the proposals are not expected to have a adverse visual impact on the landscape ‘which already has a strongly industrialised character’, and planting would take place to ‘soften key views’ and reinforce residential screening.

The report added: “Re-development of the site should offer some substantial benefits in the form of the re-use of existing buildings, the regeneration of a derelict and unsightly site and the potential for long term management of the retained and reinstated landscape within the site.”

The assessment concluded that the proposed development would have ‘a high positive socio-economic impact’ on the local area and Pembrokeshire as a whole, raising the county’s profile on a national and international level.

It added: “Overall there are no significant negative socio-economic impacts resulting from the development of the facility.”

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