Tongue End digestion plant scheme clears first hurdle at council
Campaigners against plans for a renewable energy complex near Spalding have lost the first round in their fight to stop it going ahead.
But members of a Tongue End action group are ready to ask a senior Government minister to review plans to build an anaerobic digestion plant on land in the small village near Baston.
South Holland District Council’s planning committee voted nine to five in favour of the plans by WD Branton and Willow Tree Potatoes Ltd, of Deeping St Nicholas, at a meeting last Wednesday.
The plans would see a mixture of rye, maize and sugar beet pulp turned into biomethane gas and biofertiliser at a site to include three 12-metre high digester tanks and a 13.9-meter high operations building.
During the meeting, applicant Andrew Branton said: “Our national government sees biomethane (gas) as the most credible form of renewable energy production currently available, hence it promotes and supports it more than any other (form of) renewable (energy).
“This project would not have been entered into, were it not believed that these credentials could be maintained and enhanced.
“However, over a period of many months of working closely with this council, John Hayes MP and the residents of nearby Tongue End, many of the concerns have been addressed and myths dispelled.
“I urge (committee) members to approve this application to build one of the most efficient and beneficial anaerobic digesters in the UK.”
Speaking against the plans, Machala Escott of the Tongue End Committee, said: “This plant will have a devastating impact on the residents’ quality of life through an increase in delivery and plant vehicle noise, smells, emission, pollutants and visual impact.”
A majority of planning committee members were reassured by comments from the council’s planning team which stated that: “Quite a lot of work has gone in to get a scheme that can be deemed as being suitable and officers feel that the site is acceptable.”
However, work to construct the plant cannot get under way until the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid MP, has decided whether to “call in” or take over the case, based on what the department called its “national significance”.
After the meeting, Mr Branton said: “We welcome the decision to approve the plans submitted for an anaerobic digester plant in Tongue End.
“The application was thoroughly and properly debated by the planning committee and the correct decision was made.
“This project will provide energy, employment and prosperity to the South Holland community.”