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Attleborough firm's bid for energy plant

PUBLISHED: 12:04 21 January 2008 | UPDATED: 14:23 14 July 2010

A Norfolk poultry firm is pressing ahead with plans for a multi-million pound renewable energy plant

fuelled entirely by chicken waste

that would be the first of its kind in the UK.

A Norfolk poultry firm is pressing ahead with plans for a multi-million pound renewable energy plant

fuelled entirely by chicken waste

that would be the first of its kind in the UK.

Attleborough-based Banham Poultry was granted consent in 2005 to build the development at its former processing site at Bunns Bank industrial estate on the edge of the town, despite local concerns.

The power plant, which will cost between £7m and £10m, will use the latest technology to turn feathers, heads, guts and other waste into electricity for the national grid. It has the backing of UEA's CRed carbon reduction campaign and approval from the Environment Agency.

Banham Poultry director Robin Goram, said the UK meat industry

is in decline and developing the power plant is an important step in safeguarding the future of the company's 750 employees, and other jobs it supports.

"We have spent the time since the application was granted in investigating the best supplier for the equipment and the most viable way to build it, and are hopeful of starting the development in the very near future. There are a lot of things that are undecided at the moment, and we are looking at doing it possibly in conjunction with a third party," he said.

Mr Goram said the cost of disposing of waste is one of the issues for meat producers who are having a tough time at present, and Banham Poultry has looked at alternative ways of tackling the problem. It has invested £2.5m in a composting facility for poultry and green waste at Carleton Rode, near Attleborough, and is also building a new rendering plant at Great Witchingham, near Norwich, which is in the final stages of completion.

"The meat industry in the UK is in decline and unless we do something to safeguard it we will be a country of non-producers," Mr Goram stressed. "Other companies have gone out of businesses like Tulip (at Thetford) and Manor Farm Ducks, which closed last year at Ickburgh. You have got Grampian making 300 redundant (in Attleborough), and Bernard Matthews is also making redundancies."

The Great Witchingham scheme has sparked huge controversy, with 150 protesters donning dust marks to demonstrate against potential smells from the new rendering plant which they claim will blight the area.

A county council spokesman said: "Permission on the detail of the application hasn't yet been given. It will be brought to committee in due course."

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