Bristol

Hallen villagers unite in biofuel fight

Plant at Avonmouth
Image caption The landscape around the village contains numerous industrial installations

Nearly every resident of a village near Bristol has signed a petition to oppose the building of a biofuel power station in their community.

Campaigners in Hallen, just west of the city, say there is already too much industry in the area.

The proposed plant, which is subject to a planning appeal, would burn imported palm oil to generate 49MW of power.

A 265-signature petition has been handed to Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, who will decide on the scheme.

Bristol City Council turned down plans for the £50m plant in February and the application, from consortium W4B, will now be decided by Mr Pickles' department.

Government subsidies

W4B say the palm oil, which will be sourced from established plantations in Borneo, is an environmentally safe and sustainable way to provide energy for up to 25,000 homes.

But Hallen villagers, supported by Filton and Bradley Stoke MP Jack Lopresti and nearby Almondsbury parish council, say they fear the plant will worsen local air quality.

And environmental campaigners say burning imported fuel from a rainforest area is neither green or made economic sense.

Biofuel use attracts government subsidies.

Sue Black, of the Hallen Village Committee which organised the petition, said: "It feels a bit of a David and Goliath fight.

"We have had no contact at all with the company trying to build the power station. We feel we're working in the dark against a big concern."

A decision on the Hallen plant is likely to be made in December.

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