Energy park proposal submitted under national infrastructure planning regime

An application for a waste-burning power station on the River Thames in south-east London has been submitted for approval under the nationally significant infrastructure project (NSIP) regime.

A visualisation of the finished development
A visualisation of the finished development

Promoter Cory Riverside Energy has applied for a development consent order to build the new energy park, which would be located next to an existing facility it operates in Belvedere in the London Borough of Bexley.

According to a scoping report prepared last year, the proposals would provide a waste energy recovery facility (ERF), battery storage, a roof-mounted solar photovoltaic installation, an anaerobic digestion facility and provision for a combined heat and power plant.

At 96MW, the electrical output of the proposed energy park puts it over the 50MW threshold above which energy facilities must be submitted for approval under the NSIP route.

The facility would be built on seven hectares of land and would receive waste mainly by river barges, according to the scoping report.

In June, the Greater London Authority (GLA) criticised the proposals, saying they contradicted planning requirements in the London Plan. In a report, it said: "Energy from waste (EfW) is the least desirable form of waste disposal after landfill, as it destroys materials and releases greenhouses gases."

The GLA said that the applicant had not identified a clear need for the facility. It warned that the proposals "will artificially increase demand, through creating additional speculative capacity" for waste disposal and would be likely to suppress recycling rates.

The proposals have also been criticised by Labour MP Jon Cruddas, whose Dagenham and Rainham constituency lies across the Thames from the Belvedere site.

"Incineration is the least environmentally friendly form of waste disposal after landfill, and the energy produced by this scheme if approved is not enough to justify the negative impact it would have on the London Riverside Opportunity areas," Cruddas said.

"Over the last five years recycling rates have stalled across the UK while government-approved waste incineration has doubled."

Last week, Planning reported that an application for the first solar park to be dealt with through the NSIP regime has been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate.

In September, plans were refused for an energy-from-waste plant in Cambridgeshire due to concerns over its landscape and heritage impacts, against a recommendation from planners.

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