Fresh application for Wimblington digester

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An agricultural firm has submitted a second set of plans to build an anaerobic digester in Wimblington.

Fengrain has applied to Fenland District Council to create a digester which will process 45,000 tonnes of sugar beet, rye, grass or maize to create gas. The plant would provide an extra market for farmers.

The application was refused planning permission in February on the grounds of visual amenity, landscape character and overbearing impact on nearby properties after receiving some opposition from the public. A statement from Fengrain says careful consideration has been given to local objections and concerns raised by the planning committee.

The statement says: “The main changes to the scheme are that most of the equipment and primary tanks have been re-sited within Fengrain’s existing palisade fence, behind an existing building, to minimise the general visual and landscape impacts of the proposal on the locality.

“We have also proposed planting a hedgerow and trees in a six-metre barrier of our land, before any internal barriers, to give the bridle path a more open aspect and make it more suitable for walkers and horses.

“Fengrain believe the revised scheme is a significant improvement and addresses the concerns raised during the determination of the first planning application. Neighbours will not be able to see, hear or smell the facility and a new access road takes traffic away from the village.

“We are therefore confident that the new plan answers all of the issues raised by the planning committee. There are compelling reasons for the use of the location, Fengrain have operated on the same site for over 40 years, we are an honourable business owned by the local farming community.

“We respect the genuine concerns of our direct neighbours and the planning authority, we believe we have demonstrated this in the design of our revised plan.

“A professionally managed state of the art AD facility will be of benefit to the community in supporting local jobs, investment and energy demands.”

Nearby resident Angela Johnson said the community is now going through the application and that comments have to be made to the council by July 13.

She said: “We are getting together as a community again and we are going to start organising meetings.

“There are two changes to the application. One is to make the entrance to Fengrain wider and the other is to put up a 3-metre acoustic fence, which I don’t think is going to help with the smell. It is a shame that we have a fight on our hands again.”