Second meeting on biomass?

PUBLIC MEETING: Some of the people who attended the first public meeting in Sutton Bridge last month.
PUBLIC MEETING: Some of the people who attended the first public meeting in Sutton Bridge last month.

Sutton Bridge Parish Council will hold an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday to decide whether to run a second public meeting on a £300million biomass plant proposed for Wingland.

The move could open the door for a parish referendum, but that’s only likely to happen if members of the public organise it themselves.

A previous public meeting and the parish council have called on the planning authority, South Holland District Council, to order its own environmental impact assessment for the proposed plant.

But the district council says it will not commission its own report and intends to rely on an environmental impact assessment drawn up by the planning applicants, EnergyPark Sutton Bridge, and responses from consultees.

Parish council chairman John Grimwood said he will leave it to the parish council to decide its official response to the district’s refusal to commission a report.

But he said: “I am disappointed that the district council didn’t do what the public wanted.”

Formal parish polls can only be conducted with district council consent, but Sutton Bridge district and parish councillor Michael Booth says there is nothing to stop villagers organising their own if that’s what they want to do.

Coun Roger Gambba-Jones, district council portfolio holder for planning, said: “The planning system requires that technical assessments are submitted by the applicant 
as part of the planning application.

“Only in the most exceptional circumstances would such assessments be duplicated by the council 
itself.”

He said EnergyPark’s environmental impact report will be studied by experts from the council as well as consultees including county council highways, Natural England and the Environment Agency.

South Holland District Council says the company’s application will not go to the planning committee for a decision until all consultees have demonstrated their “satisfaction” with the content and accuracy of its evidence.