The chicken-poo power Magical Mystery Tour

The chicken-poo incinerator site is close to the Mt Cotton School and nearby residences

The site for the proposed chicken-poo incinerator is close to Mt Cotton State School and nearby residences

Back in 2004 Cleveland Power applied to build a chicken-poo incinerator adjacent to the Golden Cockerel chicken processing plant in Mount Cotton. Impact assessable because this is a heavy industry in a rural zone, it attracted three hundred and thirty three (333) submissions with only one in favour of the development.

It took until 2007 for the Seccombe Council to approve the plant, with Mr Bray (CEO of Cleveland Power) spruiking the prototype Indian made rotary kiln that would burn the chicken-poo. Despite this new technology having no emissions data, it seems Mr Bray used data from a different UK plant to assure the community that there were no toxic emissions from the process.

Conflicting statements on toxic emissions

Then things become a little confusing as Mr Bray states, “We have shown by the information provided from the UK that the emissions are well below the Australian EPA standards and well below the EU Waste Incineration Directive” whilst also stating ”There are no toxic emissions. There are only two waste streams from this ingenious and time tested process. The first is heat…The second waste is ash.” 

OK  – an Indian kiln using emission data from a UK facility but with no emissions to measure? This obviously leads to the query – if there are no emissions then why does the emissions report for the plant state-  that measuring equipment  will be installed to detect noxious gases such as hydrochloric acid, nirous oxide, dioxin and furans.

Disturbingly there has never been any mention of a large primary school nearby or Leslie Harrison Dam, downwind, that supplements our drinking water. But never mind.

Extension after extension

Now come some corkscrew twists and turns. Mr Bray did not have his plant up and running within the four years allowed by the development approval so he applied for an extension in 2011; another in 2015 and now yet another in 2016.

During this time a Community Consultative Committee was established to liaise with the local community and keep them informed. Cr Julie Talty and Mr Steve Davies MP for Capalaba were members of the initial committee in 2013. There never were any published meetings, agendas or minutes for this Committee.  By May 2015 Cr Talty had resigned from the committee and supported her local community by voting against the extension (which was just carried by a 6/5 majority with Crs Boglary, Ogilvie, Elliott, Talty and Bishop voting against the extension).

Timeline of confusion

Mr Bray provides the remaining commentary from his blog. It is somewhat confusing:

Nov 12 2013

“Our construction of a $20 million bio mass power plant is the first of many such projects the community can expect as we walk towards clean energy future.”

January 28 2014

“The huge boiler system, turbines and a kiln- the keys to a new Green energy future for Redland City are nearing  completion as we gear up to begin construction of its site within the next 2 months.

The arrival of the first pieces of vital componentry is due to be shipped up from its manufacturing base in Tasmania within weeks.”

Is this the equipment that is described in the plans as coming from India?

July 24 2014

Cleveland Power has taken another major step forward with the delivery of the huge Boilers being delivered into Queensland.”

It is anticipated that a full public announcement of the technology will be by the end of August.

 OR Is this the equipment described in the plans as coming from India? Is it still coming from India or somewhere else now?

Whatever happened to the full public announcement?

July 20 2016

“About 12 months ago we made the decision to pause the project, as we continued to explore and discover and for that matter ‘invent’ some more advanced solutions that would give better output and identical clean green outcomes.”

So how have the original plans changed with these new “inventions”?

August 29 2016

“For us, the collaboration Cleveland Power has had with ARENA to date have been hugely beneficial.”

“The pleasing thing for us has been the lateral thinking that our relationship with ARENA has fostered. It means better and even more efficient outcomes for the Mt Cotton Project.”

Has this ‘lateral thinking’ changed the original plans? Has the data changed? Are the emissions different?

Sept 9 2016

“We have not applied to ARENA for funding”.

“ARENA has been working with the organization to provide ‘world’s best practice’ input and advice.”

Cleveland Power is working with a range of agencies to bring its Mt Cotton Bio-Mass project on line by 2018”.

Now Mr Bray is claiming ‘world’s best practice’. Surely this must be different from an application with plans made 12 years ago?

Sept 30 2016

“Three Australian companies are now vying for the $40 plus million-dollar construction contract of the Cleveland Power Mt Cotton Biomass Power Station.”

 Finally 10 days after the approval lapses Mr Bray claims companies are tendering for a $40 million project that started out as a $20 million dollar project.

To fund or not to fund?

At every stage Mr Bray has been almost ready to roll. From extension applications he states –

20 March 2015

“It has taken longer than expected to secure the relevant funding, which for the development alone will amount to approximately AUD$21 million.

The Heads of Agreement with respect to the funding was executed in February 2014 and the funding is now agreed.” 

19 Sept 2016

“Ultimately and disappointingly the Heads of Agreement mentioned in our letter of 20 March 2015 bore no fruit and so Cleveland Power has sought alternative funding and engaged the services of Interfinancial Corporate Finance.”

Given the history, can our councillors and the community truly believe that any application pronouncing cutting edge technology remains the same over a period of 12 years.

Mr Bray needs to get his chooks in a row; sort out what he is doing; find finance and make a new application so that Redland City Council and the community know what he is proposing.

Where to next for the chicken-poo plan?

It is worth remembering that biomass is considered the dirtiest of ‘green’ energies, not much cleaner than coal, and we have a school full of children, hundreds of homes and a water supply at risk.

After the last extension was approved in May 2015 Redlands2030 asked “was the community given a fair deal when Redland City Council approved an 18 months extension for development of the chicken-poo power plant at Mt Cotton?

The matter was examined in some detail and it was a “line ball” decision.  Given the further elapse of time (since the last extension), it is time to put the existing approval to rest and give priority to community views.

Local residents ask that Council now properly consider the community’s current awareness of the development approval.  Since the application was lodged (2004) and then approved (2007) many people have brought homes in the vicinity of the proposed chicken-poo plant and these people deserve to have their say.

To that end the locals would like all Redlanders to contact their local councillor and urge them to say NO to another extension of the 2007 approval.

Many people believe that times have changed, circumstances have changed and at the least the assessment process of this toxic industry should start again.


Redlands2030 – 13 October 2016


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4 thoughts on “The chicken-poo power Magical Mystery Tour

  1. If the council again extends this approval without first going back to the substantially larger community affected by it since it was last approved I will personally write to them all and inform them that I will hold them personally responsible for the health of my family who will be living 200 meters from the plant. I will make it my business to have private contractors meter the levels before and after the plant commences and will take legal action against both Cleveland Power and the Council should any of their promises prove to be unfounded. They can not be trusted as they promised to have both myself and my neighbour on their steering committee however when it was formed we were totally ignored. I am not against progress but it must be safe. If there is any doubt then the plant should be constructed in a place not surrounded by housing, schools and community areas. This company has holdings in areas where they can construct their plant away from people but choose this site as they are simply after cheap power to run their feed farm and abattoir and don’t care what little is left for the use of the community. Councillors, show some morals and do the job you were elected for “The betterment of the community” and not to look after business interests by putting money ahead of lives. Before you vote simply ask yourself “would I be happy to have my children and grandchildren live next to this plant”and if you answer truthfully you would not approve without at the very least insisting on a new application which should be subject with up to date scientific scrutiny.

  2. Several years ago a local air quality expertly easily and convincingly demonstrated that the waste fallout from the plant contained harmful substances and would depollute the air in Mount Cotton and neighbouring suburbs. Another issue raised has been that plants like these have long periods of downtime and non-production while the bugs are being ironed out in the initial stages, and repeatedly break down in the longer term causing more delays to production. This results in stockpiling of the poo which essentially becomes a ticking time bomb, building in heat and reactive gases as it piles up waiting to be incinerated. Cleveland Power have no solution for when this issue arises, which could likely result in explosions causing harm to the surrounding residents and school children who are 600m as the crow flies from the plant. The rapidly increasing population of Mt Cotton with its new estates means that many residents are totally unaware of the proposal to have the incinerator on their doorstep. Their local councillor has glaringly omitted it from her written communications to residents.

  3. The Healthcare Professionals for a Clean Environment from a state in the USA put forward some thoughts on a Bio-Mass Incinerator. The golden rule of energy is “garbage in- garbage out”. Why would you want near a school and homes a factory that produces particulate matter, hydrogen chloride, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, sulphuric acid, mercury, lead, arsenic and volatile organic compounds? With prevailing winds these fumes blowing across homes and the nearby school is it any wonder that individuals develop upper respiratory diseases such as sinusitis, rhinitis, pharyngitis, laryngitis as well as the common cold. When exposed as young children and then continually exposed, this may then lead to more serious respiratory diseases such as lung cancers, emphysema, pneumonia, pulmonary edema, pleurisy, asthma and bronchitis. I can remember a Qld lung specialist giving an address to one of the early anti quarry meetings and the amount of particulate from greywacke from the Mt Cotton extension was of great concern to him for the health of Redlands children. I would hate to hear of his concern of the particulate from this biomass!

  4. If the share holders of a Company read this CEO reports over a twelve year period he would have gone years ago. $20 million, $21 million, $40 million has the development blown out by $20 million because it did not start on time or is this a new type of equipment? extension, extension, extension, finance coming, finance coming, what is going on?. I think it is time Cleveland Power packed its bag and left town, You had your chance and blew it.

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