Giant concrete silos to store biomass plant fuel
SIXTEEN towering concrete silos could be built at Royal Portbury Dock to store pellets to fuel biomass plants across the country.
Bristol Port Company has applied to North Somerset Council for permission to build up to 16 of the concrete silos which would measure 50 metres high by 30 metres wide and each hold 15,000 tonnes of wood pellets.
Initially the port company had been considering housing the pellets in a large 35 metre high building, but has now decided that the silos are more appropriate. The silos would be used to store pellets for energy companies across the UK.
It is understood that the energy companies would import pellets by sea into the dock from North and South America. Once at the plant the pellets would be transferred from the silo by conveyors to a new rail loading area and then transported to power stations across the country by rail.
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Initially eight of the silos would be built during the first phase which would take 70 weeks. A further eight would then be built as part of phase two.
Because the port company already has a deemed consent to develop on the site, a full planning application does not need to be submitted.
But the scheme has prompted concern from nearby parish councillors who say the silos would be a "blot on the landscape".
Portbury Parish Council chairman, Pete Cooke, said: "These silos will be very large and high structures and would have a massive visual impact on the local environment.
"They are going to be made out of concrete and undoubtedly be a real blot on the landscape.
"We want an environmental impact study before any development goes ahead because of the dust problems already encountered from the pellet processing plant at Avonmouth.
"If the scheme gets the green light it will also bring a great deal more traffic onto junction 19.
"The junction has been working well since the improvements and to bring additional traffic onto it is complete madness."
Portbury Parish Council has now written to neighbouring Easton- in-Gordano Parish Council to gain its views on the scheme.
Mr Cooke added: "We want to get the views of residents in Easton- in-Gordano before deciding what action to take and whether we can work together to raise objections to the scheme."
The scheme is in line with a Government's objective to reduce the UK's reliance on fossil fuels.
The application comes just months after the Government gave permission for a new biomass power station to be built at the dock.
Bristol Port Company spokeswoman Sue Turner said: "We are working through the technical options for the storing and transporting of wood pellets.
"The scheme is still in the very early stages.
"We are always interested in constructive discussions with Portbury Parish Council.
"We are also aware of the sensitivities around junction 19 and will take this into consideration."