PLANS to build an £80m wood fuelled biomass plant at Trecwn, which could create up to 45 jobs, and a further 250 in its construction, were given the go-ahead on Tuesday.

The Valley (Pembrokeshire) Ltd sought full planning permission for the construction of a wood-fuelled power station at the former Royal Navy armaments depot.

Construction is expected to take 30 months.

The application, recommended for conditional approval, was unanimously passed at Tuesday’s meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council’s planning and rights of way committee meeting.

The proposed combined heat and power (CHP) development, operating 24 hours a day, would generate 25 megawatts of electrical power and up to five megawatts of heat.

A report for planners states the source of fuel was likely to include deliveries by ship to Pembroke Dock, with an estimated 53 HGV lorry loads travelling to Trecwn every day.

The report states that rail deliveries would be preferable, with a feasibility study ongoing.

The application site, within the eastern part of The Valley, includes a fuel storage facility, road and rail delivered fuel reception buildings, an administrative and visitor centre building, and an 80 metre high flue, with an emissions plume extending a further 50 metres.

Support for the scheme has come in from Scleddau Community Council, while objections have been received from Pembrokeshire Friends of the Earth and the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales.

Four letters were also sent in from local residents whose concerns were odours, smoke, fumes, dust and air quality amongst others.

Speaking at the meeting, Anne Dugdale of agents Renewable Developments Wales Ltd said it was hoped the development would act as a “catalyst,” encouraging businesses into the valley.

Neighbouring resident Tarn Derbin told the committee: “We’re living in the actual emission plume,” adding: “We’re going to cop for the whole detrimental impact. I feel a bit like King Canute holding back the ocean.”

Councillor Brian Hall, who moved approval, pointed out that the applicant needed an environmental permit from Natural Resources Wales (NRW), adding: “That, to me, is the essential safeguard.”

Councillor Gwilym Price said: “The development is really welcomed, not only for workers but for shopkeepers; they are all looking forward to money coming in to the area. It is really with a glad heart that I support this.”

Councillor Keith Lewis welcomed the development, but said: “I would prefer to see those 53 lorries kept in their respective garages and a rail link established.”

He added: “I hope it’s a project that starts and not one left on the shelf for years.”