Where do we go from here? Protestors must decide whether to keep fighting planning decision for Wimblington anaerobic digester

Wimblington Against Anaerobic digester. Angela Johnson with her banner. Picture: Steve Williams.

Wimblington Against Anaerobic digester. Angela Johnson with her banner. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

A community devastated by a planning decision that will see 78 extra lorries a day turning onto roads around their village must now make a decision on whether to keep fighting.

Fengrain Anaerobic digestion plant. Planning meeting at FDC, March. Picture: Steve Williams

Fengrain Anaerobic digestion plant. Planning meeting at FDC, March. Picture: Steve Williams - Credit: Archant

Following two planning appeals a Government inspector has given the go ahead for an anaerobic digester to be built at Wimblington.

But residents say this will have a disastrous impact.

Most notably in harvest an extra 78 lorries a day during harvest season will be turning onto the already traffic-clogged A141.

Angela Johnson of action group the Wimblington Against the Anaerobic Digester (WAAD) committee said: “When the decision to approve it was given we were gutted.

Fengrain demonstration

Fengrain demonstration - Credit: Archant


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“We are in talks with a reputable law firm who has spoken to an eminent barrister who are drawing up a guesstimate of what costs would be to fight this.

“We need a realistic idea of what to do next. This decision cannot be made by the committee we need to know what residents would like us to do next.”

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The Planning Inspectorate said Fengrain could go ahead with plans at the plant despite facing massive opposition from villagers and NE Cambs 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, who has overseen appeals on two separate planning applications.

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.

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

He 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.

Paul Randle, business development director at Fengrain, said: “Fengrain was pleased with the decision of the Planning Inspectorate which confirmed the view of the Fenland District Council Planning Officer that the scheme should be allowed to proceed.

“Our firm belief is that the plant will not have any significant negative impact on the local community – however it will have a positive impact on the provision of renewable energy, generate local employment and help the local farming community.

“We respect the position of our neighbours, but believe the inspector reached the right conclusions in approving the application.”

• A public meeting has been organised for the Wimblington village hall on Thursday October 27 at 7.30pm when residents will be told of the latest position and a decision taken on whether to keep fighting.

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