A COMPANY which delivers green heating is unhappy with the lack of support it says it has received from Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.
Nick Manuel and his wife Irene have run their business from Richmond Road, Basingstoke, for around six years.
Although they have attracted interest in surrounding areas such as Newbury, Andover and Winchester, the couple said there are only two properties in the borough where they have installed their eco-friendly wood-chip burners.
Mr Manuel said: “There’s no drive here at all. It’s very poor for what’s supposed to be a leading, expanding town.”
Mr Manuel was responding to The Gazette’s Green Town, Green Borough campaign, in which we aim to make Basingstoke the green capital of Hampshire by 2020.
Although Mr Manuel said his wood-chip burners are expensive, they could be installed in community buildings and businesses – but he believes the council’s lack of overt backing is hindering the potential impact.
He said: “If the council leads, then people will follow.”
The green heating is called biomass and uses wood or another fuel such as straw to create heat.
Mr Manuel said: “The theory is that if you grow wood, as the tree is growing, it absorbs carbon dioxide and when you burn it from a carbon point of view, it’s at its most effective.”
The benefits include carbon savings and being less expensive to run than other heaters, but the downside is there is a large capital investment to install the systems, in comparison to replacing a boiler.
The company has installed burners at the end of streets, for several houses to share, splitting the cost of the installation.
Mr Manuel said: “Winchester council has taken a street of houses on oil or coal and converted it to wood pellet boilers at the end of the street, connecting the houses together. Other councils burn all their green waste.”
Mr Manuel claims developers will only install green heating if they are encouraged to do so by the planning authority, adding: “They will do it if there’s pressure, but they won’t if there’s not. I feel the council needs to put that pressure on.”
Those with biomass boilers have wood pellets delivered in trucks, which are then stored and fed into the system. The company also installs ground-source heat, which takes energy from the ground.
Andrew Hunter, policy manager for planning, policy and infrastructure at the borough council, said: “We are positive about green initiatives and support these where possible through our climate change work.
“We have also been developing new planning policies which will further aid the use of renewable forms of energy in the future.
“However, from a planning perspective, it is not in our remit to recommend individual businesses to developers, nor prescribe the type of technologies installed and used on specific sites, unless the site specifics mean a particular technology would be the most effective.”