St Albans MP seeks assurance over new biomass boiler

St Albans & Harpenden Review: St Albans MP seeks assurance over new biomass boiler St Albans MP seeks assurance over new biomass boiler

St Albans MP Anne Main has sought assurance from the Environment Agency (EA) over the decision to grant permission for a biomass boiler on a site, which was the scene of a massive fire for more than two weeks.

Mrs Main met with EA bosses on Friday after it was announced Navitas Environmental would begin building its biomass facility at Appspond Lane early next year, following the granting of an Environmental Permit.

In a statement released by her office, she said: "The safety and concerns of local residents are my priority, and this is why today I have sought assurances from the EA that the site at Appspond Lane will be operated under strict conditions.

"As I have said in the past, I was disappointed by the permit being granted, but now the decision has been made it is entirely appropriate for me to ask the EA what they will do to assure local residents and me that we won’t see a repeat of the damaging fires that broke out in 2012."

The Potters Crouch recycling centre became a blaze for several weeks, after the wood chipping and waste composting facility caught alight in November 2012.

The biomass boiler will process 86,000 tonnes of dry waste wood per year, which would otherwise end up in landfill, and generate 12MW of renewable energy, which is said to be enough to provide electricity for seventeen thousand homes.

Mrs Main continued: "The EA has given me assurances that they will have strict overview of the site, and the ability to act swiftly. The permit is a long document, and has strict conditions on management, waste limitations and every aspect of safety, which must be fulfilled by Navitas in order for them to be compliant with the conditions clearly set out in the permit.

"As well as the many conditions Navitas must adhere to, the EA are warranted to conduct as many on-site checks as necessary. The EA accepts their responsibility for the safe running of the site, and I will continue to work with them in the future to ensure the plant is a fully workable, and safe, wood recycling enterprise."

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