South Somerset District Council Planning Committee voted unanimously to grant permission for the plant which will be built by Green Spirit Fuels, a leading bio-ethanol development company.

The Council will provide a ready made market for the fuel – to be refined using locally grown grain – as it has already been buying flexi-fuel vehicles for its own fleet as part of the Somerset Biofuel Project, while Green Spirit is seeking other forecourt partners to distribute more widely.

In addition to the bio-ethanol, the process will produce two by-products: a high-protein animal feed from the grain waste, and carbon dioxide which will be captured and bottled for industrial purposes.

Managing Director Malcolm Shepherd said he was delighted with the planning decision. “This will confirm the South West as the leading region in renewable and sustainable energy and will contribute not just to the health of the environment but also to the well being of the farming community.”

Construction of the plant, which will be capable of producing 100,000 tonnes of fuel, will begin later this year with production starting in 2007.

David Hopkins

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