We would like to thank everyone who attended the public exhibition held in June 2011 and gave us their comments. 158 people attended the two day exhibition and 56 questionnaires were completed.
The feedback from the consultation process showed that there were three main areas that the local community were most interested in: highways and access, fuel and landscape and visual impact.
Biomass planning applications are subject to a strict planning process which addresses visual, environmental and community impacts. We have undertaken a series of detailed surveys as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The EIA covered a wide variety of topics; the surveys and assessments are reported in the Environmental Statement (ES), which has been submitted as part of the planning application. The Non Technical Summary is available on this website.
Highways and Access
During both construction and operation the site would be accessed via North End Lane, which connects the site to the A11 via the Snetterton interchange. Direct access via North End Lane to the A11, from the western boundary of the site, will avoid the need for HGVs to travel through surrounding villages, one of the main areas of concern raised during the consultation process. Further to this, the studies submitted with the Environmental Statement found that there are no other planned developments that would use the same route for construction or operation traffic, meaning that there would be no significant ‘cumulative impact’ during either period.
Although initial plans for the biomass plant looked at using rail links for the input and export of straw and ash, following feedback from the consultation process and further investigations, this is no longer required as ash will be used locally as fertiliser.
During construction, an average of 60 HGVs would enter and leave the site each day with a peak of 150 HGV movements per day, accessing the site via North End Lane. The increase in HGV movements results in a 2% rise in the overall HGV traffic on the A11. During the construction period, there would be a maximum of 250 workers on the site at one time, accessing the site by parking at an allocated location and being bussed to site. Prior to construction, a Construction Traffic Management Plan (CTMP) will be prepared and submitted to Norfolk County Council (NCC) for consideration, we would be happy to share this with the local residents following approval from the NCC.
During operation, 52 HGVs would enter and leave the site each day to input and export straw. Movements to the site would be limited to a 12 hour period, 0700 to 1900, Monday to Friday and 0800 to 1400 on Saturdays. Deliveries would be prohibited via contract between 0800 and 0900, and 1700 to 1800, Monday to Friday.
With straw as the main fuel for the proposed biomass plant, its availability following the 2011 drought was one of the main areas of concern raised during the consultation process, in addition to concerns over the price of available straw.
As a direct result of the consultation feedback, Iceni Energy arranged and facilitated a number of meetings with the National Farmers Union, The National Pig Association and Anglia Farmers to help local farmers avoid any straw supply issues. Some farmers currently choose not to bale their straw. Previously this straw would have been burnt in the field, however following a European ban on burning the straw, these farmers now select to plough the straw back into the ground. Snetterton Biomass Plant therefore creates a need for this surplus straw and it would also help to create additional jobs as an estimated 50 extra full time jobs would be needed for the baling of the straw.
Landscape and Visual Impact
Following a detailed assessment of the potential impacts of the biomass plant on the landscape, the final design was developed to strike a balance between maximising energy production and minimising visual impact.
A comprehensive Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment has been undertaken, which aimed to identify the likely effect the biomass plant would have on the existing landscape and the visual environment. This assessment investigated potential effects on views, landscape character, designated landscapes and key routes. Photomontages were produced for a number of representative viewpoints identified to aid the assessment. The photomontages were agreed through consultation with Breckland Council and were displayed at the public exhibition.
Careful siting and detailed design of the biomass plant have been a consideration from the outset to reduce its potential effects on the local area. The biomass plant buildings would be painted in neutral colours and the trees and hedgerows on the site can provide screening even at long distances. To see what the plant would look like when constructed please visit the Our Plans page.
Lighting would be kept exceptionally low and controllable, being dimmed or switched off during out of hours. During construction the mitigation measures extend to the protection of trees and monitoring of noise.