BOURNEMOUTH’S sewage could soon be providing homes with fuel, if plans for a new biogas plant are approved.

Wessex Water, which handles sewerage for the whole of Dorset, wants to build the facility at its existing Berry Hill Sewage Treatment Works in Watery Lane, just north east of Muscliff.

The plant would be situated on the southern corner of the site.

The firm says the plant will have little impact on the industrial setting of the works, however it does have potential hurdles to overcome especially as the site is located in the green belt.

Its planning statement says: “The existing sludge treatment plant at Berry Hill Sewage Treatment Works is currently producing more biogas than the combined heat and power unit can combust.

“A feasibility study has considered the benefits of alternative uses for the biogas.

“The study has concluded that the best course of action is to install a gas to grid plant at Berry Hill for injection into the gas main.”

The plant would be constructed by Wessex Water Enterprises (GENeco) to process biomethane from sewage sludge, producing a “high standard gas suitable for injection into the gas National Grid”.

The National Planning Policy Framework, which Bournemouth council will be required to implement when assessing the proposal, requires that applicants “demonstrate very special circumstances” for projects to proceed in the green belt, and notes that “elements of many renewable energy projects will comprise inappropriate development”.

The plant will include one 18m vertical column, and a further four stacks between eight and 14m tall.

“The new development will often be seen against or obscured from view by the existing structures at the treatment works including the National Grid electricity transmission pylon and the associated power cables,” the statement claims. “In addition, the development will be seen in the ‘industrial’ context of the existing site.”

Wessex Water says its scheme will produce little additional noise, odours or vehicle movements.

If approved, work would begin early next year.