Slurry turns to energy under King’s Lynn digester scheme

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Waste including crop material and even pig slurry could be processed in a new anaerobic digester proposed for the edge of Lynn.

Developers behind the facility, planned for land off Cross Bank Road, claim it could generate enough power for the equivalent of 2,000 homes per year.

But opponents say they are worried about issues including pollution, traffic, safety and visual impact.

Mikram Ltd are seeking permission to build the plant, which would include two digesters and storage tanks, a combined heat and power unit to generate energy plus offices.

Although Norfolk County Council will ultimately decide whether to grant planning permission or not, members of West Norfolk Council’s planning committee will first look at the scheme on Monday.

Officials there have recommended the authority raises no objection in its capacity as a consultee, subject to issues relating to flood risks being resolved.

A report published ahead of the meeting said the plant is expected to process around 14,000 tonnes of cereal crop material a year.

However, that figure could rise to 20,000 tonnes if pig slurry or what officials describe as “similar liquid agricultual waste” is treated there too.

Documents submitted by the developer as part of the application say the proposed site is two kilometres, around a mile and a quarter, from the centre of Lynn and around a quarter of a mile from the nearest house.

But the borough report revealed that Associated British Ports (ABP) has objected to the plan, citing increased traffic and the impact on its own operations.

North Lynn councillor Sandra Buck, who is a member of the borough’s planning committee, has also voiced opposition to the scheme.

She said: “This would cause damage to the natural countryside harming the natural beauty of the area.

“The highways are not suited for heavy traffic.”

And other critics have raised concerns over the visual effect of the scheme, the impact on nearby residents and smells that could be given off from it.

But the applicant says its plans do include the intention to widen and resurface access points to the site.

The firm has already concluded a deal to supply the energy generated from the process to Dow Chemical, who say it could meet up to 90 per cent of its energy needs, and PCL, and says the process will also lead to the production of a soil improver product.

A planning statement submitted by them to the county council said: “The proposed development will provide additional waste processing capacity in a way which will be beneficial to local businesses and the wider community and will achieve carbon savings.

“The scheme design responds appropriately to the operational constraints of the site and local sensitivities.

“It is not located in or adjacent to an area designated for its conservation or landscape importance and will not impact protected species, groundwater, or heritage assets.”