Wood to fuel Sandwich's Discovery Park power plant

Estover biomass plant artist's impression
Image caption The biomass plant will use low-grade wood from within 80 miles of Sandwich

A £65m steam turbine power plant fuelled by local wood is to be built at the former Pfizer plant in Kent.

Estover Energy said the combined heat and power (CHP) plant would supply renewable heat and energy across the 220-acre Discovery Park in Sandwich.

The science and technology park, vacated by the drugs giant last year, is a designated Enterprise Zone.

Dover District Council said planning permission for the biomass plant was granted on Friday.

Estover's application was approved under powers delegated to council officers, which meant it did not have to go to the planning committee.

The energy plant will use low-grade wood from forests and woodland within an average of 80 miles from Sandwich to create enough energy to supply the equivalent of 21,000 homes.

Rural economy

Power will be supplied to businesses at Discovery Park as well as the national grid.

Estover said building work was expected to begin next spring.

About 100 jobs will be created during construction with 20 permanent positions at the plant and 20 in the forestry and transport sector.

Energy minister Greg Barker, MP for Bexhill and Battle, said the CHP plant would help stimulate the rural economy.

"By sourcing their fuel from the South East the wider benefits of developing a new supply chain are felt locally and provide a much-needed market to support coppice woodlands in south-east England," he said.

Discovery Park chairman Trevor Cartner said: "The benefits to us and to the wider region are significant and we are proud that we can now offer our tenants a clean and sustainable source of energy for the future."

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