There has been a fresh twist in an eight-year row between villagers and a firm looking to build a controversial waste energy plant.

In a new development Deal Farm Biogas (DFB) has submitted a new application for an anaerobic digester plant in Bressingham, near Diss.

The plan would see a partly built structure on the site demolished to make way for a smaller scheme.

A previous application was rejected by South Norfolk Council (SNC) last year following massive public outcry.

It was rejected by SNC’s development committee, who said the amount of traffic the scheme could bring would pose a danger to road users.

Diss Mercury: Campaigners against Bressingham anaerobic digester rejoicingCampaigners against Bressingham anaerobic digester rejoicing (Image: Hazel Dormer)

The digester - which uses organic waste and crops to create biomethane that can be used to produce power - has been part of a long-running dispute between locals and DFB.

A plant was initially given planning permission in 2015 but when development started neighbours argued it was far larger than the SNC had approved.

The company was then forced to submit a fresh application, which was ultimately turned down by SNC in December.

READ MORE: Second Norfolk MP comes out against controversial waste plant

Now, Deal Farm Biogass is arguing that it should be allowed to build the scheme matching what was approved in 2015.

They are doing this by applying for a 'certificate of lawfulness' - certificates used to confirm that a development is lawful.

In their submission to SNC, the developer has argued that they met certain conditions set out in the original planning application, including that work was initially "lawfully implemented" and "as such can be built out at any point thereafter."

That work included excavation and laying of a concrete base.

They acknowledge that the concrete base has been removed but the "excavation remains in situ".

Hazel Dormer, one of the local campaigners against the plant said she was disappointed but not surprised to see the latest application.

"We are all very frustrated about this," she said.

"We feel let down by everyone involved, it's not right. The system is not right." 

DFB was contacted for comment.

A history of the Bressingham digester

The plant has been controversial since a previous planning application was approved in 2015. 

When locals had begun to hope the scheme had been forgotten, development finally got under way in 2018. 

But as the plant was being built residents began to voice concerns that it was "completely changed" from the approved scheme. 

By October 2021, the developers were instructed by South Norfolk Council to stop work on the site, with officers questioning the legality of the development. 

Deal Farm Biogas (DFB), the company behind the plans, then submitted a new planning application. But residents continued to raise concerns. 

Their campaign caught the attention of the local MP Richard Bacon and later South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss, who joined them in their objections. 

DFB then pulled their application in June, before submitting a revised and scaled-back design. 

This scheme was then rejected by SNC at a planning meeting in December, with councillors branding the plans as "completely inappropriate" for the area, an "abomination" and a "waste of officers' time".