Biomass Plant: Real Ventures To Be Given Extension

Real Ventures given 15 month extension to carry out further tests

Minutes for next week’s Cabinet meeting reveal that Real Ventures, the preferred bidder for the bio-mass plant at Stag Lane may be given more time for further investigation before contracts are exchanged.

Biomass plant plansThe current ‘preferred bidder status’ expires at the end of April 2011 and according to the report being presented to Cabinet members for consideration next week, contracts have yet to be exchanged in respect of the transfer of the site.

VB readers will remember that Real Ventures Limited were selected as the preferred bidder to take over the Stag Lane Tip site and develop 49 mega watt biomass system back in July 2010.

The proposed plant is not without controversy. The actions of the Leader of the Isle of Wight council, David Pugh, were questioned by Private Eye earlier this year, after it was revealed that he was planning to ask Government Minister Greg Barker and relative of Cllr Pugh’s fiancé, to get involved.

Why the extension?
We’re told that the reason for the extension is due to further ground tests being required on the site before the Environment Agency will support the development.

A 15 month extension is being recommended.

April Cabinet Meeting PAPER D

Tuesday, 5th April, 2011 10:47am



Filed under: Cowes, Green Issues, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News

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Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.


  1. Mike Starke

    5.Apr.2011 11:17am

    Bang goes Eco Island Vision then, as 7,000 tonnes of fresh-cut biomass fuel are set to be shipped in each week by fossil fuelled freighters from the Baltic to feed the biomass furnace.

    It is said this will be from live forestry sources, by and large, and not waste. This has been shown to have a knock-on effect to furniture manufacturers and other timber users in terms of pushing up raw material prices as trees are lopped down to feed the biomass furnaces.

    And how does 1,000 tonnes a day of fuel get to the Stag Lane site from the river Medina? Well, the plan is to run an overhead conveyor belt from the Vestas complex waterfront to the biomass plant… right across the Newport to Cowes cycle path. Helmets are not compulsory for cyclists on roads, but they may be advisable on this route in future.

    ThWART luminaries behind the biomass plant, Messrs Mike Hammond, Ray Tucker and John Gallimore, have campaigned long and hard against the unsightliness of wind turbines.

    Their aesthetic senses seem to have taken a holiday with regard to the Stag Lane proposal, which looks like a giant upturned Brobdignagian biscuit tin.

    Still, I expect the vast government (aka taxpayers’) subsidies will ease their troubled minds.

    • Tanja Rebel

      5.Apr.2011 11:37am

      As always, Mike Starke makes complete sense:

      We are sacrificing trees for a short-sighted investment which will be hugely disturbing to the ecologically sensitive river site (not to mention the cycle path) as well as constitute an eye sore on the landscape. Isn’t it enough that a monstrous hangar has been erected in the area, so called for “green” purposes, drawing down masses of cars as well as lorries across the cycle path?

      Enough is enough, lets get environmental for real! Moreover, lets not forget that green should be beautiful: After all, aesthetics (in the deep sense of the word) is environment for the soul…

    • playingthenumbers

      5.Apr.2011 12:08pm

      Mike, I like the satire – are you suggesting that king david with his immense 1000 volume library is benevolently supporting a culture of history, ethics, poetry and mathematics here on the island?

      Of course – in Brobdingrag the plebs libraries are small too.

    • Definitely something fishy about this deal. Would be interesting to know who else bid and what they bid? These eco projects are all about subsides. What do islander get out of this? This project does not make any eco sense so why are the council promoting it? Are Hammond and Co associates of George Brown? Is he going make the decision? if he’s involved – nuff said.

  2. If this project is proving controversial due to Pugh’s involvement, then surely there needs to be some kind investigation into the affair before any further development proceeds.

    If he has been involved in any secret or corrupt business dealings, then it needs to be exposed and he should resign.

    Perhaps this story still has legs with more revelations to come.

    • There have been mutterings about the family of David Pugh’s girlfriend having business links to Real Ventures. Don’t know how accurate it is but definitely somethingg that should be investigated more fully!

  3. 7000 tonnes of wood? It will be interesting how this plant ‘competes’ with Southampton’s Helios plant, reported to be twice the size as the stag lane development for the precious supply of wood.

    Of course the soton plant is further along the planning process & the only comments I have been able to find are NEGATIVE! Let be see, the tory council are against it, the labour mp is against it, residents are against it – why?

    a) because the plant is only viable with huge government subsidies (who’s paying & how can it be afforded),

    b)the effect that sucking it so much wood will have on global timber prices (with the knock on effect for furniture makers & the construction industries)

    c) the effect on already spiralling food prices (10% inflation already in china)as more land is used to produced wood

    d) questions over its efficiency and green credentials(dr patrick james, university of soton school of civil engineering)

    e) it’ll be a blot on the landscape with increased noise, pollution & reduced air quality

  4. I agree with all 3 comments,and let us not also forget the pollution that these plants cause. I agree with Asite2c, I too think that there must be an investigation into pughs involvement here, although I’m not sure where one would go with this. Anyone got any ideas?

  5. One more thing, what ever happen to the The Resource Recovery Facility on Forest Road, did that not produce some bio mass pellets? Is that facility viable without the £ms it receives through the PFI scheme?

  6. adrian nicholas

    5.Apr.2011 12:11pm

    Well Done V/Blog and the comments from Mike & Tanya,
    we all know that same THWART -Biomass protagonists were behind the much earlier tory private agreement to obstruct Wind Turbines and the 450 Vestas jobs in planning, really so as not to ‘spoil’ the views and potential property prices of a few wealthy tory private backers and interests.
    IOW’ers should remember the recent furore in Southampton area on local television news about the gigantic similar Biomass plant next to Southamton residents there, and planning sought due to port facillities -even though the road network and ostensible ‘renewable’ biomass ie trees and plantations in local area UK do not support it’s actual necessary fuel for requirements. We’ve seen the same ‘market’ of slash n’burn deforestation for alleged bio-mass ‘renewables’ and share investment jamboree in South America with logging and palm olive plantations to suit corporate profit and vested land ownership traditional interests at expense of indigenous peoples and associated land grab.
    Worth remembering that, in English History in Both Henry VIII and Napoleonic times that needs of naval ship building requirements outstripped Englands Capacity with resultant timber/fuel shortages. Willow, whilst fast growing and undeniable useful for flood defence and many other activities- is not really suitable for bio-mass fuel. Renewable conifer and pine plantations must be at expense in some part of native English Tree stocks with incumbent effect on ecosystem- although certainly, despite the defeat of the Forestry Bill- impending Planning System law changes with impact on Green Belt may assist any plantation and free up development land.
    However- given that Wind and Wave energy turbines do not have such genuine environmental impact and that bio-mass fuel will have to be shipped in from somewhere, surely, such plans are short term and could actually hinder development of viable resourced long term renewables related to Water/Wind/hydrogen- to which UK and UK Green economy desparately need for real UK economic investment growth and vastly greater employment prospects at current financial time.

    • and don’t forget this is only one of four biomass plants planned for the Island

      • WHat? Where?

        The proposed monstrosity will require a land area 6 times that of the entire island devoted to its 49 Megawatts.

        Whose land are these megalomaniacs going to blight to get their wood?

        I still think the entire process is not just hypocritical but criminally insane.

        Surely the “subsidies” for these plants must go the way of the stupid solar subsidies, which even the tories have blocked once it was realised that they were being used – not to provide little panels on existing buildings – but to destroy the carbon absorbing ability of prime agricultural land and give a free handout to anyone who could put together a few notes on the back of an envelope.

        • not all on this scale…but one for the new Pan development, and two for private developments, believe Waitrose and the Hotel/Resteraunt at Wooton Bridge if my memory serves me right

          • There’s also Cowes High School. I also heard that Barretts, Hawthorn Meadows was having one but that’s not been confirmed. I’d be interested to know if there is one there or proposed to be. Waitrose is correct, but don’t know about the Wootton Bridge one

  7. adrian nicholas

    5.Apr.2011 12:14pm

  8. playingthenumbers

    5.Apr.2011 12:59pm

    Several years ago, I offered a section of my property to site an anaerobic digester – like the one on the Archers. A small local solution to turn leftover food etc into electricity & fertiliser. I even suggested that it could become part of a hoped for lager network of digesters across the Island – needless to say the council didn’t like the idea.

    Indeed, I was disappointed to read that unlike scandinavia where this technology is common-place & required on new building developments, the trumpeted ‘paradise estate’ in Pan & elsewhere have no such digesters installed.

    The huge development in Newport (where lots of people live) is unnessary if the LA would just show some initiative & realized that green initives don’t always need millions spent on them nor do they need massive ongoing £ support. Sometimes, even without a profit motive very interesting & worthwhile things can be accomplished.

    Here’s a helping hand for free – Have a look at Mole Valley District Council, they support home composting, they even sell reduced priced home composters – (a new income stream stream?) Then phone up some green technology suppliers & see if their products fit the Island lifestyle. You might just generate a new industry on the Island without trying or even meaning too, solve the energy crisis, have feriliser products to flog like ‘duchy originals’, preserve the phizog of the island etc, the list goes on and on and on and on and on….

    • I lived in Esher for a while and Mole Valley Council gave away a composter to every household with the option to buy a second one at a vastly reduced fee…bit of a bugger getting it home, but well worth it

    • That’s a great shame. I thought the idea of anaerobic digesters were going to take off on the Island.

    • If the council collected the large amounts of seaweed that continually gets washed up on our shores, they could turn this into compost and sell it from various outlets around the island. Compost made from seaweed would be an excellent substance for improving the quality of any garden soil.

      If they kept the prices low and provided a delivery service, this could prove to be a popular scheme with many of the Island’s gardeners. It would also give the council some extra money that could be used to maintain our public services.

  9. playingthenumbers

    5.Apr.2011 1:20pm

    What about the recycling plant on forest road with their bio pellets?

    Again how viable is that plant without the millions received from PFI payments supporting it?

  10. adrian nicholas

    5.Apr.2011 1:20pm

    One wonders if island planners will consider this proposal with regard to the same highlighted stated ‘concern’ of aesthetic environmental impact and height/location that were used to turn down the vestas/cheverton down/ventnor applications when considering the biomass/stag lane plant?
    especially since proprortionately more residents views would be seemingly correspondingly so impaired?

  11. Alan Mansell

    5.Apr.2011 1:29pm

    How many MW would the council provide if we used Pugh & co as biomass?

  12. L Pinkerton

    5.Apr.2011 4:00pm

    I assume it is contaminated land.

  13. Olaf Agricola

    28.Oct.2011 7:23am

    Hello All

    Real Venture Ltd states on their Website that the Woodpellets are sourced from sustainable approved Sources in the UK and Europe.

    I would not be Surprised if Latvia was one of those Sources.

    80% of Latvian Forests are owned by Foreign Companies,and those Forests are not Plantations but Prime Forests that are being cut down for Profit.

    All this is done with the Approval of the Forestry Comission.

    Real Ventures Ltd should be forced to declare where this Wood is sourced from.

    Large Scale Biomass Plants are not GREEN,they are only a Means for Profiteering.

    Remember the old Saying(Money Talks B…..T Walks.


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