UPDATE: On 7th May, the Planning Committee voted to approve the application. This is extremely disappointing and we have serious concerns about the way in which the application was handled and the decision was reached. Local and Biofuelwatch campaigners are now discussing next steps. This page is now for information only and the email action has been disabled.
Biofuel company Edgeley Green Power (EGP) has submitted plans for a 32 MW biofuel power station in Shoreham-by-Sea, near Brighton.
A power station this size would need to burn up to 50,000 tonnes of biofuels a year. If all of this was palm oil, then 12,500 hectares of new plantations would be needed – the land area required for other types of vegetable oil would be even greater.
EGP say they will probably use tallow (a byproduct from slaughter houses), tall oil (a byproduct from paper production) and used cooking oil. Used cooking oil supplies are scarce and already exploited for biodiesel for cars. Tallow and tall oil are not waste – they are being fully used by other industries. A report commissioned by the UK government shows that diverting more tallow for biofuels will cause soap and cosmetics companies to use more palm oil – so if EGP were to burn tallow, the result will likely be more oil palm plantations.
Yet EGP also explicitly state that they will consider using palm oil, provided it arrives ‘contaminated’ and not fit for human consumption, e.g. because the shipping containers were previously used for other fuel. At a time when palm oil is once more in the media because of devastating fires and logging in one of the last habitats of Sumatran orangutans, EGP are thus proposing a power station which will (directly and/or indirectly) create even more demand for it!
For local people, the power station will mean more air pollution – including more nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emission in an area with already very high NO2 levels and with nearby Air Quality Management Areas declared (meaning that legal limits are being or expected to be exceeded). NO2 is linked to respiratory and cardiac disease. Small particulate levels, linked to similar illnesses as NO2 are also high in the local area and would be increased further by the power station.
The planning documents can be found at http://planning.adur-worthing.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=externalDocuments&keyVal=M73DM7CB02Q00 .
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Email Adur and Worthing Council