David takes on Goliath in a giant battle to get the planning appeal for the Wimblington anaerobic digester quashed in the High Court

Angela Johnson talks at the latest Wimblington Against the Anaerobic Digester meeting

Angela Johnson talks at the latest Wimblington Against the Anaerobic Digester meeting - Credit: Archant

The Wimblington Against Anaerobic Digester committee held a public meeting to talk about the next stage in their two and a half year fight against their neighbour Fengrain’s proposed development for a purpose grown, crop-fed anaerobic digester in their village.

It was unanimously agreed to keep fighting.

Through a show of solidarity on valid objections, the support of local counsellors and our planning committee, we have achieved the refusal of two applications and the dismissal of one appeal.

Everyone was devastated when the second appeal, heard by the same inspector, was granted.

His two different decisions contradicted each other, comments were inconsistence and points raised were not evidenced through the applicant’s consultants, although some were through WAAD’s consultants.

The meeting was extremely pro-active, continued concerns and thoughts were voiced.

It is extremely difficult for the general public to have a strong voice, especially without the support of their planning office, and be heard.

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Wimblington village is not the place to erect an anaerobic digester.

There are people who may accuse us of being NIMBY’s but ultimately we already have one of the UK’s largest grain stores behind residential homes plus, what should be, a light industrial estate.

Wimblington has a large haulage company based in the centre of their village as well as a number of other businesses that offer local employment for a number of people.

Why do our neighbours, Fengrain, believe there is a need for their co-operative of 900 farmers to erect a purposely grown crop fed Anaerobic Digester next to their grain stores employing one person?

Surely it is for no other reason than financial!

This AD won’t just be erected 60 metres from its nearest neighbour and in a field but one away from other resident’s backyards, it will be in the air, noise and odour all day and night for 365 days a year.

It will impact on our roads. The A141, A142, A47, not to mention our minor roads within the ten mile radius, will be effected.

During the public meeting various options were discussed and a unanimous vote, by all who attended, agreed that the next step would be to get the inspector’s decision quashed through the High Court.

Having already approached a specialist law company for advice, they introduced our case to a reputable barrister who assessed the prospects of success, on at least one ground, to be between 60 and 70 per cent.

So now it is all about raising the funds.

Donations and pledges on the night amounted to a substantial sum of money, enough to pay for the first stage of the proceedings.

What villagers are intending to do is raise more money through fund raising events and we have also opened up a JUSTGIVING account online.

As a small community it will be difficult to fight against the Secretary of State’s Inspectorate and a large co-operative of 900 farmers but with the help of families, friends, surrounding communities and businesses we plan to give it our best shot.

We have always tolerated the growth of our neighbour Fengrain because firstly, we live in the countryside and secondly, we have been somewhat naïve in their previous planning applications but at the end of the day they should also remember that the village was here first and many generations of families have always lived here.

The grain store has grown and grown over the past twenty years, the structures have grown, the traffic has grown and the number of employees has also grown.

Fengrain have profited through their neighbours acceptance and tolerance but enough is enough. Stop and think about the surrounding residents, village and local communities.