What probably needs clarification is we are not against a well planned and implemented Biomass scheme - we are against the project in it's present form mainly for the fact it is totally inappropriate as a development for the area it is situated in. This project is a major industrial project that will be creating a visual and environmental impact on a very densely populated area.
It is not in keeping with the other dock based industrialisation and will radically change the skyline that has for some many years represented a port facility to the local residents who have proudly settled nearby.
We also have concerns about the project viability as explained in the about Biomass sections on this website - with no permanent information or control on the Biomass source from government level the potential of introducing highly toxic pollutants via the burning of tainted Bio fuel can not be ignored and as such could present residents with a very real fear and worry of living in the shadow of such a Biomass project.
This ongoing fear would massively affect the local area and their quality of life potentially leading to a disastrous degeneration of the area which is so close to the main city of Southampton centre.
Yes it may be low carbon project , but it will still be dispensing a large quantity of pollutant in a very focused area. The Biomass fuel sources required for the daily running will be releasing what was taken out of the environment over a large area and a great length of time (up to 5 years between harvests) - Is something so close to a major residential area that is already one of Southampton's designated smoke free zones and next to an AQMA (Air Quality Management Area) in the public's interest?
The Marchwood Incinerator has already had an impact on the Millbrook Road West AQMA and the 2009 report suggested traffic levels needed to be reduced by 50% to meet European guidelines - The Southampton Biomass project already states around 100 extra HGV's a day to the site and these are some of the worst forms of traffic pollution providers!
The Southampton port is a fully operating and functioning port and as such the infrastructure on this land supports port activities such as container and goods movement with expected freight travel both in and outbound to support this activity. No part of this infrastructure is similar to a power plant with the closest examples of such structures being Fawley (Scheduled for closure by 2015) and to a lesser extent Marchwood Incinerator.
The proposed site is on one of the main routes in to Southampton and will form a very visual representation of the city - views of docked cruise and container ships will be lost as will signs of other port activities to be replaced by large scale industrial shed like buildings.
We have the new City Cruise terminal built to welcome visitors to our city and having a massive polluting power station as their welcoming present seems a strange call to make. The cruise industry is worth a lot more to our local population in terms of both jobs and direct financial injection into the Southampton economy - The Southampton Biomass offers a few permanent job's yet could cause area degeneration and also reduced tourist revenue if sighted on the propose site.
Other environmental concerns exist including the result of future flooding when a non permeable structure takes up such a large space that previously offered drainage and as local residents know the Millbrook Road area is susceptible to localised flooding in heavy or rapid rainfall.
Despite assurances on noise and vibration once the plant is fully constructed there will still be a long construction period that will impact very heavily on the local residents quality of life - not to mention the additional heavy plant machinery pollution during the construction phase as well.
Although there are claims it would not restrict light to residential properties the fact Millbrook dual carriageway is a 3 lane dual carriageway that runs adjacent to the development there are issues of shadow being cast on the road and possible road safety implications.
Also the dual carriageway suffers from congestion during peak periods with vehicles backed up from Regents Park lights out bound and even from the same position inbound. These vehicles will have nothing but an industrial shadow to sit through and also the concerns over air quality could lead to increased traffic via non trunk routes to avoid the area.
There is also the case of Goals football at one end of the site - Outdoor sports are encouraged for health reasons. Will their business suffer due to fears of playing in polluted air as the backdrop to the healthy football game becomes a Biomass structure.
We also have 2 primary schools within close proximity of the site in Foundry Lane and Freemantle - The building will be visible from both playgrounds and is surely not the environmentally friendly backdrop for children to be seeing on a daily basis - never mind the pollution issues of emissions from the plant blowing directly down on our children.