Southampton, England, residents to be given chance to vote on Helius Energy's controversial £300M biomass power plant proposal

LOS ANGELES , July 6, 2012 () – Helius Energy may not yet be out of the woods on its controversial proposal to build a £300-million, 100-megawatt biomass power plant at Southampton docks in England, because local residents are going to be given a vote, the Daily Echo reported on July 6.

Labor councilors are reportedly organizing a “preferendum” in the hope a loud “no” vote from many thousands of local people would sufficiently sway decision-makers when the energy company submits its plans.

Anti-biomass campaigners have gathered thousands of petition signatures against the proposed power plant, which would burn up to 800,000 tonnes of wood, largely shipped in through the docks. In addition, councilors across all parties have already voted to oppose it, the Daily Echo noted.

On July 5, Helius Energy held the last of five public exhibitions on revised plans for the plant in Millbrook, where the plant is to be sited. The company’s 12-week public consultation ends on August 3.

Despite the vigorous opposition, Helius Energy still says it aims to submit a planning application to the planning inspectorate in the autumn. The final decision rests with the secretary of state.

According to council leader Richard Williams, the referendum--which could take place in November if approved by council lawyers--is part of an election pledge to do more to engage the electorate in local democracy, the Daily Echo reported.

In fact, Williams said, it could be the first referendum of its kind in England to be held under the new Localism Act agenda.


The primary source of this report is the Daily Echo, Southampton, England, July 6, 2012.

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