On 5th August 2015, leading planning and environmental consultancy RPS secured planning permission for a straw pellet production plant in Ely.
This will be the first of five plants to be built by Pelco. A planning application for the next plant is anticipated towards the end of the year with others to follow. The sites are primarily within arable crop growing areas with a wide catchment of potential straw suppliers. The sites also have good transport links in line with the emphasis on delivering pellets by rail. The Ely plant will see 150,000 tonnes of straw per annum turned into a pellet that will be taken off site by train and converted into energy.
The 17m high building and 47m high rail loading silo is carefully designed in response to the challenges posed by its setting. The site is bounded on three sides by the Ely Pits and Meadows SSSI, it has a Conservation Area and Country Park located to the North West and Ely Cathedral in view.
“Strong and effective project management were vital to securing a favourable outcome for this project” advises Maureen Darrie, Director of Planning at RPS. “To address the challenges raised by the sites location we ensured we maintained an open and proactive dialogue with key stakeholders throughout the process and as a result were able to secure planning permission in just 18 weeks”.
Proposals for the site incorporate bio-diversity enhancements and long term management strategies to benefit the wider setting and the SSSI. Permanent and temporary construction jobs will be created at the plant and long term contracts will be secured in the farming and haulage industries with an overall investment over the life of the plant in excess of £100m.