PLANS have been approved for a £230million energy plant, which is expected to create up to 450 jobs.

Hartlepool Borough Council Planning Committee unanimously approved the proposals for a combined heat and power plant on a 15-acre site at Tofts Road West, next to the Graythorp Industrial Estate south of Seaton Carew.

Proposals from Graythorp Energy Ltd state the facility would represent a capital investment of circa £230 million during construction, with 450 construction phase jobs created.

Once operational the facility is estimated to create 40 new permanent full time jobs and add £2.72 million to the local economy each year.

Nick Roberts, planning consultant for the development, said: “Sustainable waste management and the production of decentralised low carbon energy are matters at the forefront of national policy and pivotal to combating climate change.

“The proposal before you, the Graythorp Energy Centre, would simultaneously deliver both of these on a site that is appropriately allocated for this use in your local plan.

“Rather than putting a waste fuel resource in a hole in the ground or paying someone to use it to generate power in Germany or Holland, the infrastructure investment can be made here in Hartlepool to deliver a facility that can deliver sufficient low carbon electricity to meet the needs of over 108,000 homes.

“In these challenging economic times this represents a huge investment in Hartlepool.”

The centre would generate 49.5 megawatts of dependable electricity for the local grid, 50 per cent of which will be classed as renewable.

Bosses behind the plant say it will also turn up to 550,000 tonnes of dry household and industrial waste a year, that would otherwise go to landfill or be sent to Europe, into enough electricity for more than 108,000 homes.

Cllr Brenda Loynes said she hoped local labour would be given the chance to take up jobs created by the plant, which bosses behind the development said would be the case.

The facility will process waste and generate energy 24-hours a day, with the residual waste brought onto the site between 6am and 7pm, seven days a week.

Cllr Marjorie James called on the applicant to consider how the large roof could attract seagulls and for measures to be put in place to mitigate the potential issues.

Residents had been consulted on the plans and six objections were received, along with two comments supporting the development.

Concerns raised include worries over noise pollution, foul odours from the site, an increase in traffic and a loss of natural views.

However bosses behind the plans previously reassured residents they will not hear or smell anything and traffic will not go past them.