King's Lynn anaerobic digestion scheme expansion bid approved
Proposals to more than double the amount of material processed at a Lynn anaerobic digestion plant have been given the green light today.
Opponents of the Cross Bank Road scheme fear it will make existing problems worse and its impact on flood defences has not been fully tested.
But developers insist the scheme sustainably meets a local demand for clean energy.
The latest application, which was approved overwhelmingly by borough councillors this morning, allows for a new plant capable of processing up to 42,000 tonnes of biomass and slurry a year for energy production.
Previous permissions have been for up to 14,000 tonnes and 19,500 tonnes.
The application was put before West Norfolk Council's planning committee for a decision, as it was not deemed to be a waste facility.
And officials had claimed many of the concerns raised by objectors would be more tightly controlled under the new proposal, because of specific permit regulations.
But resident Bob Nicholson said he did not feel their worries had been properly considered by planning committee members, even after they visited the site.
One of their main concerns is the removal of soil from flood defence banks, even though statutory consultees such as the Environment Agency raised no objections.
Mr Nicholson said he was concerned about whether any testing of the potential impact had been carried out.
He said: “It’s a massive amount of soil that’s going to be removed from King’s Lynn’s main flood defence.”
His neighbour, Terry Pither, claimed domes that will form part of the new plant would be “intrusive", having earlier raised concerns about increased traffic.
He said: “This hardly seems a green project. We feel the scale of feedstock and the design is totally unacceptable.”
But Mikram Ltd, which now hopes to build the plant, said they had tried to discuss residents’ concerns with them, but found the two sides were “in different places.”
Director Mark Collison said there was a demand from nearby companies for the energy the site would generate.
He added: "There seems to be a lot of noise around anaerobic digestion at the moment but, if you look at the facts, it's using crops to produce green energy.
“We want to do our bit to change the world. The earth is already in a bad way."
Terry Parish, the only committee member to oppose the plan, called it the “worst kind” of anaerobic digestion, because of its use of crops.
He said: “I know there’s probably no planning reason to say it’s a rubbish system that shouldn’t be used, but it’s a rubbish system that shouldn’t be used.”
But Martin Storey said it would help the farming industry by providing an alternative market for surplus crops.