King’s Lynn digester bid rejected amid traffic fears

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Plans to build an anaerobic digester near Lynn’s port could be reviewed if an alternative access point can be found, councillors have suggested.

The proposed development on Cross Bank Road was unanimously rejected at a meeting of Norfolk County Council’s planning committee today.

The decision followed the recommendation of officers, who raised concerns over flood risks and the potential impact on neighbouring residents and businesses.

But the main stumbling block for committee members related to the extra traffic that would be generated by the plan.

Ian Monson said: “It’s a good idea to have the plant there but it is a question of the travel that worries me past the docks and fishing fleet.

“Clearly there will be problems with traffic meeting each other and not being able to pass. If a rear access could be found, that would be absolutely wonderful.”

Brian Long said he recognised the strengths of the scheme, which the committee was told would provide power and steam to nearby firms.

He said: “I think there’s a solution there but I don’t think it’s this one.”

But Stephen Agnew described the idea of growing maize to fuel the digester as “something like a bad dream.”

He said: “It doesnt make any environmental sense to do it. Let’s grow some food.”

The application had proposed a digester that could process up to 14,000 tonnes of biomass and slurry a year, with a combined heat and power unit.

Michael Stollery, on behalf of applicants Mikram Ltd, said the scheme had changed significantly since West Norfolk Council opposed it last autumn.

He also insisted the existing access route would be “almost unaffected” by the scheme.

Phil Greenaway, of the applicant’s technology provider Lutra Ltd, said facilities of this kind were increasingly common in urban areas and would not cause problems if they were well managed.

He said: “Other sites were looked at. The primary reason for going for this site was the grid connection. They’re virtually non-existent in the King’s Lynn area.”

But nearby resident Terry Pither said the scheme, which proposed widening the by-way leading to the site and his and his neighbours’ homes, would “urbanise” the area.

He said: “We feel strongly that the anaerobic digester is proposed in an unsuitable location.”