Fengrain submits another application for Wimblington anaerobic digestion plant

Fengrain, Wimblington. Picture: Steve Williams.

Fengrain, Wimblington. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Farming cooperative Fengrain is to make a fresh bid for an anaerobic digestion plant and labelled protests as “scaremongering”. But protestor Angela Johnson said she was “deflated and stunned” by the revised application.

The planning committee's site visit in January. Picture: Steve Williams.

The planning committee's site visit in January. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

In February Fenland District Council planning committee voted to reject their original application for Hook Lane, Wimblington.

Now director Paul Randle is hoping for success second time round, and has taken exception to a protester’s description of the anaerobic digester as “concrete cash cows”.

He said: “We vehemently refute the rhetoric and scare mongering of some of the comments as Fengrain cannot have such environment as ‘concrete cash cows feed, waste and urine’ on or near the site.

“Fengrain aerates all its grain through aeration systems and cannot have any detrimental odours that may affect the smell or visual of the grain and such a situation would never have received acceptance from the planners initially.”

The planning committee meeting in February. Picture: Steve Williams

The planning committee meeting in February. Picture: Steve Williams - Credit: Archant

He offered protestor Angel Johnson a meeting “to discuss the above and any other concerns and to go through the facts with her at a convenient time.”

Mr Randle said Fengrain had worked closely with the council to resolve the main issue of visual amenity and a large part of the plant would now be built to the north of the site.

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“This resiting of a significant part of the plant will enable us to plant hedgerows and trees on our land alongside the bridleway and improve its outlook,” he said.

The initial application generated 131 letters of objection, with residents concerned about noise, smell and increased traffic on the surrounding roads.

Mrs Johnson said: “Fengrain could not gracefully accept a refusal from the planning committee or the tremendous outcry from the general public against the previous application put in last year.

“Instead they have made a few adjustments to their original application, paid for new site analysis and statistics to be done, and then re-applied.

“A three metre acoustic fence will be erected. I’m not sure how that will help contain the repulsive odour that will emanate from the ‘concrete cash cows’ feed, waste and urine!

“There is no doubt that everyone who put forward their objections last time will feel very deflated and stunned that this has gone ahead.

“It is now time for everyone to pull together, not just the residents of Wimblington parish but all the surrounding towns, villages and cities, to put forward their objections to this application.

“There have already been repercussions with the anaerobic digester on the A142 Mepal especially concerning mud on the road. Many of us travel that road, the A141, the A47 and adjoining highways.

“With the additional traffic already serving the anaerobic digester at Mepal and the further 6,000 plus that will be required to serve the proposed site, our roads are going to become more of a nightmare than they already are.

“The increase in traffic will affect everyone’s day to day lives be it travelling to work, going shopping, taking the children to school or simply just leisure time.

“The odour from the site is also another aspect that will have an effect on the surrounding area, wind dependant.

“We will have to suffer the consequences of increased heavy traffic, the smell, the noise and the unsightly monster on our landscape.”

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