Council publishes biomass policy

By on 12/09/2013 in Cllr McKay, News

A new policy to control the emissions from biomass in Birmingham is due before the city council’s Cabinet on Monday (September 16).

Cllr James McKay, Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and Smart City, said: “Government's failure to address issues relating to crude, outdated legislation on emissions and clean air means that we need to take action now. Also, if installed or operated poorly, Biomass boilers can impact on local air quality.  We can't stop them, but we can support their safe use.

“If we waste time waiting for Westminster to stop dragging its heels and make decisions, further biomass units could be developed in Birmingham without the council influencing their safest possible deployment.

“Waiting for Westminster legislation also comes with the risk that we don't know what Parliament will do. Suitable controls may not be implemented.

“Through the Birmingham biomass policy, we are leading by example. Emissions from any city council-commissioned units will be controlled and monitored under a strict regime. We will utilise the planning system to regulate private development as far as possible where no other safeguards currently exist.

“There are benefits to biomass, notably providing us with a sustainable source of energy, but we have to get this right for the good of our citizens.

“Our policy takes regulation on this matter seriously, underlining our commitment to protecting the public as effectively as we can.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

Under the law currently, biomass installations under 20MW (the measure of the unit's energy output) do not require an environmental permit. All biomass units encounter in Birmingham to date fall within this unregulated category.

The Birmingham City Council policy seeks to address this with a number of measures, including a requirement for all biomass units installed by the city council to be supported by a fully completed Biomass Information Submission Form - which will allow Environmental Health officers to fully assess the impact of the installation.

Private sector organisations that are proposing installations that require planning consent will also have to fill in the Biomass Information Submission Form as part of the planning application. Failure to complete the form or to provide an air quality assessment may result in conditions being applied by the council, should the application be successful.

The Biomass Information Submission Form asks for information on a range of issues and items such as filtration systems, cleaning arrangements, maintenance schedules fuel and emissions.

For more media information contact Kris Kowalewski on 0121 303 3621

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