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BBC: Dundee biomass plant 'would have negligible impact' on air quality



Plans for a biomass plant in Dundee have taken a step forward after a study suggested its impact on local air pollution would be negligible.

Forth Energy said the plant could generate 100MW of electricity.

Concerns had been raised about the levels of nitrogen dioxide the facility would release into the atmosphere.

Air quality monitoring and computer modelling have now suggested the increase in NO2 levels would be less than 1%.

The study was launched in 2011 after questions were raised about the environmental impact of the plant.

Dundee City Council had said it would defer it position on the plant until the air quality analysis had been completed.

NO2 impact

Forth Energy monitored the air quality at 25 locations in Dundee over a 12 month period between October 2011 and September 2012.

Dundee City Council asked that particular attention be given to the potential impact of emissions of NO2 from the Renewable Energy Plant and associated operational road traffic movements.

This is because concentrations of NO2 in the air at certain locations in Dundee currently exceed the annual average defined limit due to emissions from road traffic.

The limit, set by the European Union, is 40 micrograms of NO2 per cubic metre of air.

The Forth Energy study said: "Following extensive monitoring at 25 locations across Dundee, the findings reveal that the annual average levels at most of the residential properties close to all the monitoring locations were within the air quality objective."

It added: "The impact of emissions from the Renewable Energy Plant and associated operational traffic movements would be very small.

"The results show that, at its highest potential level, just 0.98 micrograms per cubic metre would be added to airborne concentrations of NO2.

"On this basis, there is no air quality impact that should prevent consent from being granted."

Local power

Forth Energy's application is currently out for consultation and will be submitted to the Scottish government once that has been completed.

The firm said if built the plant would generate 100MW of electricity, the equivalent of 86% of Dundee's power needs and produce 30MW of heat, enough to supply the needs six hospitals the size of Ninewells.

It also said it expected the plant to create 70 long-term jobs and save the country nearly 3 million tonnes of carbon over its 20 year life, as opposed to a traditional coal fired power station.