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New Sulphur Plant planned at Southampton Docks

A new Sulphur plant planned for our area will create up to 12 permanent jobs plus a further 50 jobs during its 1 year construction time frame, which is scheduled to begin in Southampton this October.

The sulphur pastillation plant is likely to be built on industrial land in West Bay Road, Freemantle, which is less than half a mile from an already controversial biomass power station planned for the Western Docks, Southampton.

The new plant will rises to 16 metres (50ft) at its highest point and the developers Oxbow Sulphur and Fertiliser insist a treating system will prevent sulphur odours from drifting across homes downwind of it.

However inevitably neighbours are already complaining, claiming the company and Southampton City Council bosses have not consulted with them on the development, which they say will pollute their air, devalue their homes and increase congestion in the area.

The Freemantle Village Neighbourhood Watch only stumbled across a revised planning application for it recently and was appalled to be told the original application had already been conditionally approved by Southampton City Council in October 2011.

The plant will generate up to 12 permanent jobs plus a further 50 jobs during its construction. Liquid sulphur will arrive at the site in tanker lorries from the Fawley Refinery before being cooled and converted into drop-sized pellets to be shipped abroad for reuse as fertilisers and pharmaceuticals.

An Oxbow spokesman stressed measures are in place to prevent gases escaping and to minimise noise. He added: “Odours will be neutralised with a scrubbing system to levels determined acceptable by city planning and the port. Other support equipment would produce minimal sound that would dissipate before it leaves the facility.”

He said it will contribute to the economy and enhance the city’s reputation as a gateway port.

Southampton City Council stressed the authority was not required to carry out public consultation as the closest homes are 200 metres away from and are separated by a railway line, the A33 and other industries at the docks.

A council spokesperson said: “There are no plans to extend the consultation but the three ward councillors recently met local residents and the details of the application were discussed with representatives of the council’s planning and environmental health divisions.”
This isn’t the only controversial development planned for the area; The biomass power station is planned for land at Western Docks, Southampton; Helius Energy are about to make a full planning application for the £300m site this summer.

Their 100 mega watt station would burn 800,000 tonnes of wood a year to generate electricity.

It is hoped this project will generate 450 jobs during the construction phase and then 40 permanent jobs thereafter.

However residents have formed the No Southampton Biomass group and criticised the project, pointing out that its 328ft chimney is twice the size of the Civic Centre and will tower over their homes.

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