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MP garners praise for letter against Eye power station plans

Mellis, Suffolk. Consultation about the proposed power station for Eye Industrial Estate at Mellis Village Hall pictured is CHris Leach talking to Sue and Kevin Brudenell ENGANL00120131014123231
Mellis, Suffolk. Consultation about the proposed power station for Eye Industrial Estate at Mellis Village Hall pictured is CHris Leach talking to Sue and Kevin Brudenell ENGANL00120131014123231

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter has been praised for his letter to the Planning Inspectorate urging the rejection of a planning application for a power station in Eye, with claims it reflected people’s views.

Dr Poulter’s recent letter was in response to Progress Power’s plans to build a £200 million power station at Eye Airfield. It will now be examined as part of the decision-making process.

A spokesperson for Progress Power told the Diss Express last week they had met with Dr Poulter on a number of occasions to discuss the location of the power station.

Charles Flatman, a Mid Suffolk District and Eye Town councillor, told the Diss Express: “I applaud the Member of Parliament for the stance he has taken.

“He has reflected the views of many of the people. I myself have been opposed to this from the outset.

Hilary Butler, a member of awareness group Common Concern, created in 2013 to keep local people informed about the project, added: “He does support the views of the local people. A lot of people are concerned about it.

“It will have a big effect on this community. It is good to see him come forward and put something in writing. Dr Dan’s support for the local community is very welcome.”

David Burn, a spokesperson on behalf of the Eye Airfield Parishes Working Group, added: “We are very grateful for Dr Poulter’s support.

“Clearly he has followed the progress of this application very closely and is very well informed about the benefits and disadvantages it would bring to the area.

“It is most encouraging to see that his conclusions closely correspond with ours.”

However Suffolk County Councillor Guy McGregor said he has worked hard “to mitigate impact” and “maximise benefit.”

“The decision will be determined by central government,” he said. “Therefore, it is a quasi-political decision based on the recommendations based on the findings of the planning inspector.

“The reasons for this application for this facility are largely because of a central government who have for many years protected the energy supplies to ‘UK plc’.

“As a result of this, projects like wind turbines have now proliferated in our country and the need for standby facilities such as the proposed power station are part and parcel of this process.

“Bearing all this in mind the location of such a project, it is agreed it is not an unreasonable site because a North Sea gas pipeline crosses the site and it is close to a national grid power line.

“The site itself has been identified by Mid Suffolk District Council as a site for industrial development.

“Faced with all of the above, as the local county councillor, it was my task to mitigate the impact of such a project and maximise the benefit of any such project. This is what we have managed to achieve; the chimney stacks now proposed are lower than the chimneys that are needed at the adjacent Fribropower station; any connection to the national grid will be underground; the need to truck water to the site is no longer required.

He added: “We are in discussions with the applicant about setting up a community benefit fund.”

Mid Suffolk District Council, Suffolk County Council and Eye Town Council have all given principle approval to the plans.

The examination will close no later than tomorrow, from which point the planning inspector will have three months to offer a recommendation to Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, who will make the final decision.

He will subsequently have three months from the date of recommendation to either approve or reject the proposals.

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