Sheffield Green energy scheme turns into burning issue

Peter Lowe. MD Hadee Engineering
Peter Lowe. MD Hadee Engineering

PLANS for a green energy plant in the south-east of Sheffield that turns waste wood into power and heat have prompted a fiery response from nearby residents and a neighbouring business.

So far, more than 80 individual protests have been lodged with the council, along with a 23-name petition, in an attempt to halt the proposed £20m development on the Holbrook industrial estate at Halfway.

Objectors are worried about air pollution, traffic and the impact on Rother Valley Country Park.

The application is for a Community Renewable Energy Centre at the back of Hadee Engineering Ltd, off Rother Valley Way.

The proposed plant, backed by Mediena Ltd and its trading arm UYE Ltd, will burn recovered timber, such as from demolition sites, to generate enough electricity to power 7,500 homes and enough heat to meet the needs of large heat consumers in the area.

Critics include Peter Lowe, managing director of Hadee Engineering, who is telling the council that housing estates within half a mile of the site, and a settlement of travellers, would be affected by pollution from the incineration.

There would also be more traffic on Rother Valley Way and the scheme would destroy the habitat of a protected species, the Greater Crested Newt, he says.

Mr Lowe says he is particularly annoyed that, when he expressed an interest in buying the land in question, he was told by the council it would never be sold for engineering because of the problems of access to Rother Valley Way and the risk to the newts.

The company has expanded three times since moving on to the industrial estate in 1976 and has two engineering firms for neighbours.

Nearby residents who are objecting to the application include a couple from Inglewood Avenue, who say: “We already suffer emissions from factories on the Holbrook/Sothall industrial estate.

“We feel that the building of this proposed power plant and the height of the chimneys are completely unacceptable.

An objector from Meadowgate Avenue says: “As a mother of three young children I worry about air quality, or rather the lack of air quality.”

She adds: “I feel this factory will spoil our beautiful park and decrease numbers and revenue” and raises fears about heavy lorries cutting through Beighton village.

A spokesperson for Sheffield-based UYE (UK) Ltd said the industrial estate site would be well screened. Many of the comments received during public consultation referred to smells that already emanate from other businesses on the industrial estate.

“Our proposed plant includes advanced flue gas cleaning and filtration systems that will ensure that all emissions from the plant remain within the air quality limits under the current UK and EU standards. Very similar plants are already operating in the UK and Europe with the same fuel and the same technologies. There will be no smell from our plant.”

During public consultation, residents had made alternative suggestions for routing the traffic. “These suggestions, together with other comments from local residents, have already been raised by UYE with the city council, who will consider all these matters when they decide on the application. No more than eight lorry loads of chipped waste wood fuel will be delivered in a working day, using pre-approved routes on major roads.

“We would also like to reinforce the point that the proposed plant will only be licensed to use chipped wood as a fuel. We will never seek to use municipal waste as a fuel.”

A council decision is not expected for at least a couple of months.