Online petition in bid to derail biomass plant

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Residents of Sutton Bridge are being asked to make their voices heard in a fresh bid to derail the £165million biomass gasifier planned for industrial land at Wingland.

South Holland District Council’s planning committee passed plans from EnergyPark Sutton Bridge, subject to conditions including one on a cut-price electricity deal for some residents.

But the gasifier also needs an environmental permit to operate and a petition lobbying the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Edward Davey, has gone live on with a link to the host website, 38 Degrees.

Villager Colin Blundell, the man who devised the petition, says more than 260 people have signed so far – but he wants more people to follow suit so the Government sits up and takes notice.

He said: “At the beginning, a lot of people signed and signatures were coming in at one every minute. It’s slowed now to one every couple of days – I imagine it’s because not too many people in Sutton Bridge have their own computers.”

Mr Blundell believes at least 1,000 signatures are needed for the petition to have an impact and is urging residents who cannot sign because they have no computer to use the computers in the community library at The Curlew Centre, in Bridge Road, or call him on 07906 574346.

The petition asks Mr Davey to “prevent the installation of this experimental and unproven technology on our doorstep”.

Mr Blundell cites the parish poll held before the planning committee delivered its verdict when 95 per cent of residents taking part cast votes opposing the gasifier.

In his petition, Mr Blundell tells the Secretary of State: “It is not just the biomass industry on trial here; it is also the veracity and workability of the Localism Bill.

“Sutton Bridge is a small village with a population of around 3,000, made up mostly of retired people and artisans, neither of whom have much of a crusading spirit, but serious concerns of residents which have been expressed have been brushed aside by the so-called planners.”

Mr Blundell also reproduces a quotation from Mr Davey himself: “Making electricity from biomass based on imported wood is not a long-term answer to our energy needs – I am quite clear about that.”