Residents mount campaign against £12m bio plant project

Councillor Chris Harper
Councillor Chris Harper
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Residents and politicians are voicing concerns about noise and smell from a new anaerobic digestion plant which would be built just 250 metres from people’s homes.

The plant, which converts organic material into energy, is proposed for Horsey Toll Farm on land to the north of Toll Road in Stanground.

Planning applications from ET Biogas Ventures have been submitted to Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council with both needing to be approved for permission to be granted.

However, the applications have quickly faced opposition with North West Cambridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara describing the planned location as “clearly inappropriate.”

Councillor Chris Harper, representative for Stanground East on the city council, is concerned about the plant’s proximity to Heritage Park Primary and Blackberry House Day Nursery.

Cllr Harper organised a public meeting at the primary school on Monday for residents which was also attended by representatives from ET Biogas and council planning officials.

Cllr Harper said: “The hall was packed which showed the passion that the people have.

“The plant would be too close to people’s properties and if North Bank was shut there would be gridlock.

“The developers tried to reassure residents but their fears have not been allayed. I believe strongly this is a case of money over amenity.”

A campaign group is being set up and Cllr Harper, who is providing updates on his website, is urging people to have their say on the proposals.

A spokesman for ET Biogas said the company must meet strict rules on odour and emissions governed by the Environment Agency and has proven design and management plans in place to contain any potential issues.

He said the plant would be built four metres below ground level and an earth wall would be constructed around the site to decrease the visual impact.

Alan Bell, project developer at ET Biogas, said external noise would be limited and that the plant would supply sufficient gas for approximately 5,000 households.

He added: “On the continent, Anaerobic Digestion plants are built next to residential homes, providing clean, renewable energy in harmony with the area and without any impact on their amenity.

“Our production system is also sealed so there is very little odour, but all air within the building is treated anyway before it is released.

“The estimated investment is £11 to £12 million and it is foreseen that the site would start commissioning by the first quarter of 2016.”