Fengrain urged not to launch second appeal for anaerobic digester as councillors spring surprise debate on the issue

PUBLISHED: 17:52 06 April 2016 | UPDATED: 17:52 06 April 2016

Public Inquiry into Fengrain AD plant. Picture: Steve Williams.

Public Inquiry into Fengrain AD plant. Picture: Steve Williams.

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A councillor has urged Fengrain to not appeal its second planning application for an anaerobic digester at Wimblington.

Public Inquiry into Fengrain AD plant. Picture: Steve Williams.Public Inquiry into Fengrain AD plant. Picture: Steve Williams.

Protestors celebrated when a Government inspector refused an appeal on the first application in February.

But in a meeting of Fenland’s planning committee last Wednesday (March 30) councillors heard how they are now waiting to see if Fengrain will appeal its second planning application - put in before the appeal was refused.

Councillor and protestor Dave Connor said: “It’s a visual obscenity. It’s clear in the inspector’s report that it’s an absolutely terrible application.

“From a local councillor and protestor’s point of view it would be madness to appeal a second time.

“Fengrain ought to respect the views of the Wimblington community and call it off full stop so people can get on with their lives.

“All the screening in the world won’t block the view of a development like that.”

Inspector Nick Palmer said the harm from such a development would outweigh the benefits.

“The improved economic position may be beneficial socially in some respects but the harms I have identified would have negative social impacts.

“Considered as a whole the proposal would not be a sustainable form of development.”

The inspector was not happy with the views should the AD plant go ahead which he said would be “visually intrusive; it would completely change the character of the byway,” he said.

He added: “The close proximity of the storage tanks, the silage clamps and the sugar beet unit, their height and bulk and industrial appearance would be particularly harmful.”

He was also concerned that the AD plant could ever be properly screened and its presence “would be harmful to the overall character of the landscape in terms of reducing the openness”.

In June, when farming cooperative Fengrain made a second bid for an anaerobic digestion plant, the company labelled protests as “scaremongering”.

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