Methane plant set for go-ahead

Fenland District Council News from the Fenland Citizen,, @FenlandCit on Twitter
Fenland District Council News from the Fenland Citizen,, @FenlandCit on Twitter

Controversial plans for a methane gas producing plant on the outskirts of Chatteris are up for discussion by Fenland planners on Wednesday.

Pretoria Energy has applied to create an anaerobic digester plant with maize clamps on a 13 hectare site on land east of Greys Farm, Iretons Way, Chatteris.

The plant will produce methane by breaking down 80,000 tonnes of maize annually, a quarter of the maize used at the plant, which will feed its gas into the main grid, will come from nearby Manea. A further 20,000 tonnes will come from local farmers in the vicinity with the remaining 40,000 tonnes coming from satellite farms in the east, north and west of the site.

The application includes the construction of a reservoir and also a new pipeline linking the site with the main gas grid.

Neighbouring residents have raised concerns about potential traffic generated by the site, which will be fed by tractors and trailers or possibly HGVs carting the cut and shredded maize plants from fields.

Maize is harvested over a six week period and harvesters cut and shred the whole plant.

Residents were also worried about noise and odour from the site, but a report to today’s Fenland Council planning committee states that numerous conditions should ensure they suffer little or no impact.

The report states: “A further concern of local residents relate to the potential for odour nuisance from the plant and comprehensive odour reports have been provided. These have been assessed by Environmental Protection and also the Environment Agency and have resulted in conditions to control any potential odour during construction and operation of the site.”

The recommendation is to approve the application, despite objections from Chatteris Town Council and concerns raised by Sutton Parish Council.

Conditions also include the need for improvements to the A142/Block Fen roundabout and byway No 27 before any work begings on the site.

In total there are 34 conditions attached to any permission for the plant to go-ahead and these also include those to safeguard natural habitats particularly of animals such as hares and adequate drainage.