Helius Energy's revised plans for controversial £300M, 100-MW woody biomass power plant in Southampton, England, not expected to be ready for public comment until H1 2012, will delay start-up until 2016

LOS ANGELES , November 30, 2011 () – London-based Helius Energy PLC does not expect to reveal the revised plans for its proposed 100-megawatt biomass power station in Southampton, England, until early next year, reported the Daily Echo on Nov. 29.

Changes to the £300-million (about US$471 million) project have taken longer than expected, said planning director Paul Brighton. He said the “visual impact issues” raised at previous public meetings were being address in three new designs.

The designs will be ready for public comment during the first half of 2012, said Brighton, noting that the company was working with the Port of Southampton to make such changes as siting, layout and external design, the Daily Echo reported.

Helius has considered such changes as making the plant shorter and moving some of its sections in response to public protests, which had labeled the plant “monstrous” and raised concerns about possible pollution.

If the new public comment period is completed early in 2012, the plant’s startup could be delayed until 2016. A new planning application can take up to a year to be approved by the Infrastructure Planning Commission, reported the Daily Echo.

Helius Energy’s announcement was dismissed as “smoke and mirrors” by Steven Galton of the No Southampton Biomass protest group. He said the company had been “playing games” and affecting “people’s lives.”

Some people delayed taking vacations because they didn’t want to miss the public hearings on the new plans, said Galton, the Daily Echo reported.

The primary source of this article is the Daily Echo, Southampton, England, on Nov. 29, 2011.

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