HUNDREDS of residents turned out for a meeting yesterday (Jan 18) on controversial plans for a massive power plant in their village.
Around 150 people packed into Micheldever Station’s Warren Hall to discuss the pioneering proposal that would produce energy entirely from waste.
But residents slammed the proposals from Clean Power Properties and questioned the firm’s motives.
Nick Hurrell, of Overton Road, said: “There is a ‘combi-trail’ of suspicion around this company. They’re giving misleading information. Would you trust them? I wouldn’t.”
Wendell Harris, a chartered surveyor, from Micheldever, said: “I’m concerned about this. It demonstrates the idiocy of providing people incentives to do things like this. If you provide subsidies people simply do what’s necessary to get the money.”
The proposals would see land above the railway sidings at Micheldever Station given over to a plant that would bring together in one place autoclaves, pyrolysis and anaerobic digesters to convert waste into energy.
Up to 210,000 tons of waste per year would be taken to the six-acre site, in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week, producing 7.6 megawatts of electricity. The facility would also create up to 30 new jobs, developers say.
Residents say the estimated 15,000 lorries, and150,000 tonnes of waste being brought into the village, plus potentially foul smelling gases and noise pollution, would be a blight on the village.
Gordon Scrase, a retired financier who lives in the village, said: “A similar thing like this was set up in Peterborough, then as soon as they could, they sold it to a company in Indonesia. This is not about green energy or the environment.”
Chris Holloway, director of Winchester Action on Climate Change, said she had only a short time to go through Clean Power’s application, but said she had seen little to convince her of the benefits.
“As far as we can see, they still haven’t answered our questions. This is not a convincing project, even though we support renewable energy in principle. It has not shown how it will contribute to a net reduction in carbon for Winchester,” she said.
This latest, revised application, follows one submitted to Winchester City Council which was rejected. The current application is due to be considered by Hampshire County Council, who are responsible for waste management in the district. They insist additional facilities are needed to deal with 600,000 tonnes of waste by 2030.
But county Cllr Jackie Porter said: “We currently have that most enormous flood plan under the A3 and this application will make that worse not better.
“There are (waste management) applications coming in all the time. We know that Chineham is up the road and takes on waste. It does not have to be this particular site.”
If they win planning consent from county bosses, developers say the plant could be open within 18-months of building work starting.
Objections can be submitted to Hampshire County Council until January 31, when public consultation ends.