SUTTON BRIDGE GASIFIER: Building of the power station could start a year from now

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EnergyPark boss Chris Williams says building work could start at Wingland in “about a year from now”.

But the company faces two hurdles.

First it will wait three months for the “judicial review period” to be completed – during which time the planning committee’s decision can be challenged – and then it will apply to the Environment Agency (EA) for permission to operate the plant.

It will take a minimum of four months for the EA to decide.

The company’s managing director also revealed around £100million has been slashed from the Sutton Bridge plant’s estimated £300million build cost because it will burn wood rather than general biomass.

EnergyPark’s sister company, Peterborough Renewable Energy Ltd (PREL), begins building a £500million plant at Peterborough in August.

Mr Williams said: “It’s waste to biomass and biomass to energy. It’s a completely different animal to the Sutton Bridge fuel process.”

Unlike opponents, Mr Williams praised South Holland’s planners saying he had been “quite impressed” by the committee.

At Wednesday’s meeting, planning chief Paul Jackson hit back at critics and said all of the comments received by the council were displayed “transparently on the website”.

Speaking after the committee verdict, planning chairman Coun Roger Gambba-Jones said essentially the committee’s decision is about a building and it is up to the EA to decide whether it can be safely operated in terms of emissions.

He said: “It’s now up to the experts at the Environment Agency to do their job effectively.

“It is what they are paid for and what they are qualified to do.”

l EnergyPark has offered a £250,000 a year community fund for every year the plant operates, but Coun Gambba-Jones revealed that is not covered by a Section 106 agreement and is not legally enforceable by the council.

The electricity discount scheme will be legally enforceable and it will have a ceiling of £250,000 for the first five years it runs.