A FARM near Stone could help to reduce fuel poverty after plans to allow it to produce a renewable heat source were passed.
Moddershall Dale Farm, at Spot Acre, was given the go-ahead to use an existing agricultural building to manufacture wood pellets and cattle bedding by Stafford Borough Council earlier this month.
Barlaston councillor Gareth Jones had raised concerns about the application because the wood processing activity will take place in the Green Belt.
There were also five letters of objection submitted to the council, on the grounds there would be an increase in heavy goods vehicles on an already busy road and an increase in noise.
But a report to the borough council said there were no homes next to the site, the nearest residential areas being a gypsy site 40m away and houses 140m away.
John Heath, speaking on behalf of applicant Staffordshire Wood Pellets, told the council’s planning committee that the pellets would be manufactured using wood offcuts and residues from processing units.
“We are not dealing with waste,” he added.
"Staffordshire Wood Pellets believe they are making a major contribution in green energy and have the potential to reduce fuel poverty by providing renewable heat sources. They have identified this site as close to the national road network and able to supply wood pellets to quite a wide rural area.”
The wood pellets produced at the site could be equivalent to heating for 480 homes a year. The industry is encouraged by the Government as an alternative fuel technology, the council report said.
Wood pellets can be produced using felled timber, dry sawdust and offcuts from initial mill processing.
European standards restrict the raw materials to stem wood, whole trees without roots, stem wood, logging residues, forest plantation, chemically untreated residues from the wood processing industry, bark from sawmill activities and chemically untreated waste wood, excluding demolition materials.
Deliveries to the site are expected to be made by one vehicle a day and the site would operate between 7am and 6pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 12pm on Saturdays, with no activity on Sundays or bank holidays. The process would also provide employment for one person.