Leading international planning and environmental consultancy RPS Group Plc has helped the Danish contractor and operator Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor A/S (BWSC) secure planning permission for a biomass-fired Combined Heat and Power plant at the 3MG Mersey Multimodal Gateway in Widnes, Cheshire. BWSC who, together with the UK logistic company Stobart Group, is developing the power plant project will construct, operate and also participate in the financing of the renewable energy plant.
With a capacity of 147,000tpa the plant will be able to supply 20MW of electricity to the national grid which is sufficient to supply about 49,000 homes within the Widnes area. In addition up to 3.5MW of renewable heat will be available to meet the needs of local industry including the new Stobart Park business development.
RPS was appointed in January 2011 to prepare the planning application and Environmental Statement. The Group provided support on planning, land contamination issues from the former chemical works, transport, noise impacts, hydrology, landscape design, archaeological issues and carbon reporting, as well as air quality and ecology considering in particular the site’s proximity to the Mersey Estuary Special Protection Area. The RPS project team led detailed consultation and negotiation with officers at the local authority, Halton Borough Council and statutory consultees prior to and following the submission of the planning application in October 2012. Planning permission was issued by Halton Borough Council at the start of April this year.
The facility will divert around 400,000 cu.m of waste wood from landfill annually, and save approximately 84,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year compared with energy generated by coal– significantly contributing to the UK’s Renewable Energy targets.
Construction is scheduled to commence in early 2014 with the facility planned to be operational by 2016. The plant is expected to create around 110 temporary jobs during construction and around 20 permanent jobs during operation.