Applause after gas plant plans roundly rejected by councillors

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Plans to build a large gas-producing energy plant close to homes, a school and a nursery in Peterborough were unceremoniously thrown out by city councillors.

Stanground residents applauded as proposals for an anaerobic digestion plant adjacent to Horsey Toll Farm, in Whittlesey Road, Stanground, was rejected, with applicants ET Biogas Ventures Ltd coming in for strong criticism.

Every member of the council’s Planning Committee voted against the application, while three petitions opposing the plans had been submitted to the council with a combined 2,300 signatures.

The council’s planning department had given nine reasons why it believed the application should be rejected which committee chair Cllr Graham Casey said was “unprecedented in my time.”

One objector was Cllr Chris Harper, member for Stanground South, who normally chairs the committee but did not take part in proceedings.

Cllr Harper was criticised in a letter sent into the council by the applicant’s agent, which accused him of influencing “the approach taken through the planning process.”

Asked during Tuesday’s meeting for his response, he replied: “I see it as a complete slur and totally unacceptable.”

He added: “It’s greed not green which is driving this application.”

The plant was intended to process 64,000 tonnes of food waste and crops and convert it into gas. However, the council said the applicants, who did not attend the meeting, had not supplied it with enough information on several issues.

Local resident Jan Hamilton said: “Noise and odour is a big issue for residents,” while Gordon Richarson added there would be “huge polluting lorries throughout the day on an already very busy road.”

Cllr Marco Cereste said: “I’ve not heard a single thing that would lead me to believe there’s good reason to approve this application.”

Cllr Stuart Martin added: “I would normally be in favour of supporting applications supporting green energy, but in this case there’s so many issues surrounding the application.” North West Cambridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara, who objected to the application, said: “It is good to see that common sense has prevailed.”