Fengrain win appeal to build anaerobic digestion plant at Wimblington -Government says it will have ‘economic benefits’

Fengrain demonstration

Fengrain demonstration - Credit: Archant

Fengrain has won its appeal to build an anaerobic digestion plant at Wimblington near March.

Fengrain demonstration

Fengrain demonstration - Credit: Archant

The Planning Inspectorate today confirmed the company can go ahead with the plant despite facing massive opposition from villagers and MP Steve Barclay.

“The facility would be of economic benefits to the members of the farming co-operative by providing an additional source of income and providing digestate for use as a fertiliser,” said inspector Nick Palmer.

The digestion plant will be built in Hook Lane and the decision follows an earlier rejection.

Fenland Council dropped some of its opposition – on highways grounds, living conditions for residents and disrupting the character and appearance of the area. Mr Palmer said he still took into account, though, opposition from residents.

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The inspector concluded said re-siting the plant had made a difference with the nearest homes on Eastwood End and Hook Road “some distance away from the site. “It is unlikely the development would be visible from these properties to any significant extent”.

He also felt a public right of way, The Woodmans Way, would not be prejudiced by the digestion plant. Neither did he feel it would harm the character and appearance of the area.

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Mr Palmer also expressed confidence in Fenland Council’s ability to monitor the impacts of odour and noise; he accepted assessments from the council’s environmental health officers.

“Interested parties have stated their strong opposition on these grounds but on the basis of the clear evidence before me I see no reason to disagree with the council on these matters,” said the inspector.

He also said it was not his role to determine whether Fenland had too many of these types of developments and the generation of gas would benefit energy from a renewable source.

Widening Eastwood End would allow for better two way HGV movements and in only a small part of the road would there be no space for pedestrians, cyclists or horse riders to pass.

He said a traffic management plan would help and Fengrain accepted a maximum of 78 two-way traffic movements at peak harvest periods.

Noise levels would be “acceptable” both during the day and at night and there would “no unacceptable impacts” of odour. He felt these to be ‘slight’ or ‘negligible’ for nearby residents.

Mr Palmer concluded the “benefits would be significant” and the support for farmers and employment “would accord with the economic and social dimensions.”

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