Biogas plant changes draw objections from the town council

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Councillors have expressed their objections to a bid to amend restrictions on what is used to generate biogas in an anaerobic digester plant on the outskirts of Sleaford.

FKB, which operates the Holdingham Biogas plant, near Leasingham, is applying to Lincolnshire County Council to change it from a solely agricultural-based anaerobic digester fed with maize and grass silage and sugar beet crops produced on its surrounding fields.

There had been plans for it to be fed by waste from a new poultry rearing unit, but that development was refused by NKDC.

Now the company is putting forward the new scheme which would turn it into a commercial anaerobic digestion facility. Additional ‘feedstocks’ would include wheat syrup – from refining bioethanol; glycerol – a waste product from recycling cooking oil to make biodiesel; poultry manure and bedding; bleaching clay from filtering vegetable oils; waste vegetables and purpose grown energy crops.

At Sleaford Town Council’s meeting last Wednesday it was revealed that North Kesteven District Council was currently disputing that the amendments should be determined by the County Council, as it was actually an alteration of permission originally given by NKDC.

One resident warned the town council that it was very difficult for the Environment Agency and NKDC to enforce restrictions on such plants and it had already received visits from the district council’s planning officers to check it sticks to conditions of its permission.

Coun John Charlesworth insisted they must be assured that any breaches regarding waste, smell or pollution are rigidly enforced.

Coun David Suiter said to reintroduce the idea of having chicken litter into the mix 
was a negative step which would cause greater adverse impact.

Coun Ken Fernandes believed there were safety concerns for nearby houses from gas explosion, saying that people would have to be evacuated from properties in the new Holdingham Mead estate and Coun Paul Coyne said he was totally against any ‘slackening’ of the original planning conditions.

The town council agreed to get its planning consultants to update their report on the scheme before submitting their objections.

The applicants claim via their agents, Greenspan, that deliveries would not exceed levels already permitted and all feedstocks would be contained and covered to reduce odour in line with complex restrictions laid down by environmental and Ofgen regulations.