Tongue End digester project ‘significantly modified’ by applicants

Plans for an anerobic digestion plant in Tongue End have been "significantly modified", with the number of digester and storage tanks cuts from seven to three.
Plans for an anerobic digestion plant in Tongue End have been "significantly modified", with the number of digester and storage tanks cuts from seven to three.
  • Campaign group has ‘raft of questions’ on anaerobic digestion project
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A project to build an energy plant in Tongue End to convert agricutural waste into so-called “green gas” has been “significantly modified”.

Deeping St Nicholas-based W.D. Branton and Willow Tree Potatoes Ltd want to build an anerobic digestion plant on land off Counter Drain Drove, between Spalding and Baston.

The applicants claimed the revised plans were “now 60 per cent smaller in terms of the physical size” of the plant, with the number of digester and storage tanks proposed cut from seven to three.

Andrew Branton, of W.D. Branton and Willow Tree Potatoes Ltd, said: “After a lengthy period of consultation and dialogue, both with residents and South Holland District Council, the plans have been significantly modified.

“Concerns and comments, where valid, have been taken on board and respected.

“Accordingly, the proposed site is now 60 per cent smaller in terms of the physical size and the visual impact is much reduced, although the output and productivity of the plant remains as per the original plans.”

Members of the Keep Tongue End Clean Action Group who are fighting plans to build an anerobic digestion plant in Tongue End.  Photo by Tim Wilson.

Members of the Keep Tongue End Clean Action Group who are fighting plans to build an anerobic digestion plant in Tongue End. Photo by Tim Wilson.

Plans for the anaerobic digestion plant first became known in May when they were met with hostility from people living in Tongue End who claimed that it would bring increased traffic on roads, includings the A151, A1175 and A15.

There were also fears that the plant would spoil the look of the small village, along with concerns about noise and air pollution because of “very bad odours”, according to the Keep Tongue End Clean Action Group which is fighting the plans.

But Mr Branton said: “Much of the myth and misinformation about the realities of a working biogas plant have been dispelled in recent months.

“This plant will bring much-needed energy to a rapidly expanding region which is already relying on back-up power plants to cope with increasing demand.

Much of the myth and misinformation about the realities of a working biogas plant have been dispelled in recent months and this plant will bring much-needed energy to a rapidly expanding region

Andrew Branton, a director of W.D. Branton and Willow Tree Potatoes Ltd

“Biomethane is a dependable and reliable source of renewable energy which generates 24/7 and is unaffected by daily climatic changes, unlike most other renewables.

“Local employment opportunities and some financial stability are also predicted to assist an ailing agricultural sector.”

The revised plans have come three months after South Holland and the Deepings MP John Hayes pledged to seek “room for change” on the plant.

Mr Hayes told the Guardian in July: “I’m in favour of anaerobic digestion as a principle, but it has to be in the right place and so I want to see if there’s room for change by moving the plant further away from the houses.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate to go ahead with the plant in its current form because it’s too close to residents’ properties and the traffic issues would be significant.”

A group campaigning against a proposed anaerobic digestion plant for Tongue End has spoken of “the enormity of the negative repercussions” surrounding it.

In a statement, a spokesman for the Keep Tongue End Clean Action Group said: “Having reviewed the latest amendments to the proposed planning application for an anaerobic digestion plant in Tongue End, we feel there are further clarifications required and a raft of questions that remain unanswered.

“Our main concern is still that of visual impact on residents and neighbours and further developments to the site layout, including an additional two lagoons outside of the original plant boundary and two satellite lagoons, only exacerbating the situation further.

“The group also continues to have misgivings about plant traffic movements, particularly given the further increase demonstrated within the latest amendment to the Traffic Plan.

“Presently, the planned site has minimal traffic related to normal farming practice, but this will increase to a proposed 5,724 one-way vehicle movements per year, doubling to 11,448 when including return journeys.

“In summary, the developer still fails to grasp the enormity of the negative repercussions of this scheme on Tongue End and surrounding villages.”

‘Room for change’ call on Tongue End digester bid