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Norfolk villagers lose biogas plant fight

PUBLISHED: 09:49 28 April 2012

Barbara Burridge with other residents of Heath Farm near Kenninghall who have been battling against plans for a Biogas plant being built in fields near their homes.

l-r: Steve Whittle, Anne Kay and Rory Shiells.

Barbara Burridge with other residents of Heath Farm near Kenninghall who have been battling against plans for a Biogas plant being built in fields near their homes. l-r: Steve Whittle, Anne Kay and Rory Shiells.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2012

Villagers feel let down by a Norfolk council after the high court rejected their appeal against plans for a biogas plant on their doorstep.

His Honour judge David Waksman ruled no screening of the plant site at Heath Farm, Kenninghall was needed for an environmental impact assessment and the planning permission given to developer Greenshoots Energy by Breckland Council was not legally flawed.

However, over 400 Kenninghall villagers had signed a petition against the plans and Heath Farm resident Barbara Burridge had appealed to the High Court, saying an environmental impact assessment should have been carried out in accordance with planning policy.

Of Friday’s decision to reject the appeal, Mrs Burridge did not vent her frustration at the High Court judge, but said: “We feel badly let down by Breckland Council. It seems amazing to me that the council can sit there and say it is a large industrial gas facility that is going to hold all this explosive methane, as well as having a gas line and generator, yet is going to make no impact on the local environment?

“It just beggars belief that they can say that and the planning department can approve the scheme.”

Villagers feared the impact of noise and pollution from the plant, which will produce gas from fermenting cattle slurry and chicken litter to be transported by pipeline 1km to the generator near Crown Chicken Mill.

Mrs Burridge particularly feared the danger to the health of nearby residents from airborne micro-organisms produced by fermented waste spread as fertiliser on the field.

She added she would be able to see the naked gas flame at the plant from her home as well as hear the “reverberation and hum” of the generator and noise from lorries visiting the new plant.

Mrs Burridge said: “There will be unpleasant by-products from the process, including gases such as Sulphur Dioxide. It is only 250m from my house, which is not a great distance and my argument has always been ‘why do they need to put it there?’”

She believed the scheme also breached planning policy on agricultural land because maize was going to be grown for use in the plant, rather than for food as stipulated by planning policy. Any remaining waste from the plant will be spread on fields as fertiliser.

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