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Controversial West Bromwich energy plant overlooking the M5 set to go ahead

By Clare Butler | West Bromwich | News | Published:

Controversial plans to build an energy plant overlooking the M5 in West Bromwich have been recommended for approval.

What the site would look like if approved

It comes after hundreds of people objected to the scheme. The 10,000sq m energy recovery facility will be built at Giffards Recycling, off Kelvin Way and convert 400,000 tonnes of waste into electricity to power 70,000 homes a year.

The application by Versus Oak Energy was lodged with Sandwell Council last year. And now planning officers have welcomed the scheme.

A petition dmanding that the facility be blocked was signed by 450 people and handed to bosses at the local authority.

Councillor Bawa Dhallu, who represents the West Bromwich ward, said: “There was quite a few people who were upset when they heard about it.

“But we need to know the full details of it first. We need access to the full details about the environment situation, how residents feel and what it will fully entail.”

The energy facility would process and convert waste into high-pressure steam.

The steam would then be de-pressurised to produce electricity. Existing buildings on the site would have to be bulldozed.

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Iconic

A design statement submitted with the application said the site would operate 24/7 but that waste deliveries from lorries would be restricted to between 7am and 7pm on weekdays and 7pm and 1pm on Saturdays.

There would be no deliveries on Sundays, it added. A total of 168 vehicles would enter and leave the site every weekday, according to the plans.

Planning agent Kelvin said the facility would provide an ‘iconic and positive addition to the local area’ and the building would ‘create a landmark structure for people travelling along the M5 motorway’.

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A committee report submitted last week states that the ‘depth of feeling’ expressed by residents is ‘understood’.

However, it continues: “Overall the proposal is welcomed as it will lead to a more sustainable use of waste materials that would otherwise go to landfill. The power generated from the facility can be used by sites and premises nearby.”

The design statement added: “The energy recovery facility (ERF) will have the capacity to process up to 395,000 tonnes of waste of fuel per annum, with the potential to generate up to 35MW of electricity.”

“The components of the ERF would largely be contained within one main building. A design brief was created in consultation with Sandwell Council, with the aim of creating a bold, visually pleasing building, particularly from views from the M5.”

Clare Butler

By Clare Butler
Senior Reporter - @CButler_Star

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