Objections to plan for anaerobic digester in village

An anaerobic digester of the type being considered by Collmart Growers. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

An anaerobic digester of the type being considered by Collmart Growers. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

Plans for an anaerobic digestion plant in Pondersbridge have been recommended for refusal by a town council amid a series of objections from residents.

Collmart Growers, of Pondersbridge, near Ramsey, has applied to Huntingdonshire District Council to build a digester opposite its packing and storage facilities in The Drove.

The farming firm submitted plans for the anaerobic digester, which would convert thousands of tonnes of waste crops into gas and heat, earlier this year.

However, the application has been recommended for refusal by Ramsey Town Council due to concerns over the possible impact on residents.

The town council decision was made at a meeting on October 11, in which 14 councillors unanimously agreed to recommend refusal.

Anaerobic digesters capture the heat and gases released by rotting biological material, such as crops, and use them to heat and power existing farm premises. Much of the gas produced in the process is also sold to the National Grid.

The planning agents said the nearest home to the proposed plant, located less than 300 metres away, would be unaffected by the proposal which was described as “relatively small scale”.

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However, there have been 27 objections to the proposal made by residents living near the site, with the main concerns being the increase in traffic, and the visibility of the digester.

A resident from Ramsey Road, in Pondersbridge, told the council: “Firstly, the application brings nothing to the community, no improvements to infrastructure, no amenities, and no employment. I have fully read the plans and correspondence and can understand why the government want to encourage these plants but why in such a close proximity to a residential area? There are abundant concerns regarding their safety, disease, asphyxiation, hydrogen sulphide poisoning, especially to workers, and explosion causing environmental damage, all of which cannot be refuted.”

As well as residential objections, the church council of St Thomas Church in Pondersbridge have also opposed the digester due to the smell and the affect that it could have on the church.

The objection noted: “The smell from the material to be used on the digester will not be pleasant especially for family and friends who come the graveyard to visit loved ones’ graves for quiet reflection, well away from built up areas.”

The final decision will be made by Huntingdonshire District Council at an upcoming meeting of the development management committee.