PLANS for a geo thermal power plant on land near Camelford has been met with vociferous objections from nearby residents.  

Geothermal Engineering Ltd has applied to the local authority for permission for the development of a geothermal power plant including site preparation, drilling of two deep geothermal wells, resource testing, construction of a binary cycle power station and subsequent operation on land adjacent to a wind turbine on Station Road, Camelford.  

“The applicant told Cornwall Council that the scheme would provide the following: “The proposed development would save 133,359tCO2 compared to a solar farm of the same capacity over the project’s lifetime, and 711,169tCO2e compared to the natural gas equivalent, which is a clear benefit of the scheme, especially in the context of the Climate Emergency declared by Cornwall Council in 2019, and the fact that 2023 is likely to be the warmest year since records began 

“The proposed development provides multiple social, economic and environmental benefits through the provision of renewable energy, and can therefore be considered to represent sustainable development which should be approved without delay. 

The Environment Agency told Cornwall Council that it considers that permission should only be granted if the following condition is part of any granted permission, namely: “If, during development, contamination not previously identified is found to be present at the site then no further development (unless otherwise agreed in writing with the local planning authority) shall be carried out until the developer has submitted a remediation strategy to the local planning authority detailing how this unsuspected contamination shall be dealt with and obtained written approval from the local planning authority. The remediation strategy shall be implemented as approved.” 

There have been 15 objections to the application, so far, including one from the owner of the wind turbine adjacent to the site. Mr John Macleod said: “I am writing here as the owner/operator of the wind turbine, which is within the boundary of the Application, to most strenuously object to the above planning application PA 23/10067, on the grounds that if granted it will have a serious impact on the operation of the wind turbine and also because of the danger to life that will be created by allowing the proposed geo-thermal installation under the turbine, both during its development and also throughout the lifetime of its operation.” 

Forrabury and Minster Parish Council asked for a delay to deciding the application, stating: “Forrabury & Minster Parish Council asks for a delay in deciding on this application of at least two months, and the reason for this is there has clearly been inadequate or timely consultation with the residents whose properties are closest to the proposed development.  

“Historic England and Historic Environment Planning saying that the reports are inadequate, and the development is likely to cause harm and that overall there have been legitimate arguments raised by residents which haven’t been answered they are technical arguments about the detailed documents which the council would like to see answered.  

“The council asks for a delay of at least two months to provide the time to enable the resident to consult with their Cornwall Councillor and for the GEL representatives to do what they said they want to do which is to invite residents to their United Downs site and hold a public meeting. The Parish Council also insists on there being an Environmental Impact Assessment done due to the close proximity of the River Camel which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Area of Conservation (SAC).” 

The application is awaiting a decision from Cornwall Council and can be viewed at PA23/10067 on the Cornwall Council planning portal.