Ecotricity to consider appeal after Green Gasmill rejection
Britain’s leading green energy company, Ecotricity, has said it will review the decision by Winchester City Council to reject a planning application to build a Green Gasmill at Sparsholt College in Hampshire – before deciding whether to appeal.
Fuelled by locally sourced grass, the Green Gasmill would have injected £60 million into the local economy, create new jobs, and produced enough clean gas to heat over 4,000 homes every year.
Ecotricity had hoped to finance and build the Green Gasmill with an initial £10 million investment, and also help fund the development of a renewable energy academy.
The academy would also have been the first of its kind – a place where the next generation of green energy engineers would have been trained in Britain.
Dale Vince, Ecotricity founder, said: “We are surprised and disappointed at the decision – we think we presented a compelling case with a lot of benefits, and we had the recommendation of the council’s Planning Officer.
“The irony here is that if this was a fracking site, which would cause significant environmental damage and public health risks – local people would not have had a say at all.
“If we’d gained approval, we would have injected £3m into the local economy every year, created new jobs, supported existing farming jobs, created new wildlife habitats, and built a new training centre for the college – all without the risks of fracking.
“As a country, we’re going to miss our 2020 target of providing 15% of our energy from renewables, and this is exactly the kind of project that could have helped us reach it – it’s a shame, but we will review the decision and see about the possibility of an appeal.”
Tim Jackson, Sparsholt College principal, said: “I am very disappointed with the outcome, which goes against the highly objective and positive recommendation of the Planning Officer that the Planning Committee should approve the application.
“The £1.2 million grant which the Enterprise M3 LEP had made available is now very much at risk and I am concerned that it will simply be reallocated elsewhere.
“This was a golden opportunity to make a really positive contribution to the low carbon aspirations of Winchester through their Low Carbon Strategy: without projects like this, it is mind-boggling to think how the ambition to generate 20% of all energy within the area from renewable sources is going to be achieved.”
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