Gas Bus Alliance

In March 2016 PORE received a letter stating “The Gas Alliance Group (including Gas Bus Alliance) no longer take any Biomethane from Crouchland Farms Ltd or Crouchland Biogas Ltd” and legal action is threatened should anyone “communicate any information to any Bodies or Persons which is contrary to this statement”. The signatory was Tony Griffiths, former General Manager - MAN UK bus operations.

A letter was also received stating that there was no commercial or other relationship with Crouchland.

It is interesting to therefore see that one of the current creditors of Crouchland Biogas is in fact GAS BUS ALLIANCE (to the tune of £18,480) with the last transaction on the 1st August 2017!

Past Crouchland Biogas Director, BARRY EVANS (who resigned on 29th March 2016) is a current Gas Bus Alliance Director.

Past Crouchland Biogas 'Financial Director Designate' WILLIAM CARR (resigned October 2016) is the current Chief Financial Officer of Gas Bus Alliance.

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What happens to lagoon 3?

What happens to the lagoon?

Exactly how, and by whom - will this lagoon, full of digestate, be returned to its former state of a pasture field?

The unlawful equipment will hopefully just be dismantled and taken away, but the lagoon will be more tricky. Whose responsibility is it? What about the gas under the cover?

Unimaginable and extraordinary losses at Crouchland Biogas Ltd

STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATOR'S PROPOSAL

The deficit is so mind-numbingly huge for this ‘unlawful’ operation. Certainly the most obvious question is “How was this allowed to happen?” and for this insolvent and unlawful company to hold people and planet to ransom for so long?

Clearly the shareholders (pages 37-40 ) have lost everything and presumably their shareholder loans too.

Privilege Loans (£37 million) have jointly and severally been guaranteed by Leon Mekitarian and William Luttman-Johnson. It is beyond belief that William Luttman-Johnson would have risked losing everything by signing these guarantees.

The administrator seems to say that the accounts are incomplete, inter-company balances don’t reconcile and basically the whole situation has been out of control for months, with the company existing hand to mouth.

https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/…/07611267/filing-history

Plaistow resident demands answers from CEO John Morea, at SGN

PORE has been given this copy of a letter from a local resident - sent to Mr John Morea, Chief Executive Officer of SGN.

SGN own and operate the substantial gas conditioning plant at Crouchland Biogas and have a commercial contract with Crouchland Biogas Ltd to carry out the conditioning of the gas produced. SGN (John Morea) signed a 20 year partnership with Crouchland Biogas Ltd in 2013 without planning consent, or even a planning application in place.

Other residents may also feel inclined to write to Mr Morea at SGN or/and Mr Alistair Phillips-Davies at SEE PLC, Inveralmond House, 200 Dunkeld Road, Perth, PH1 3AQ.

They may also want to question why a company entrusted with the operation of a highly complex infrastructure network would invest £4.5 million in a basket case of a company now with debts of £37 million - and who in the last year have apparently made a loss of £11 million on a £2.6 million turnover!

Exactly where the millions of pounds have gone is the subject of much speculation and we would welcome Mr Morea's thoughts and comments.


11th October 2017

SGN Chief Executives Office
St Lawrence House
Station Approach
Horley
Surrey RH6 9HJ
Fao: Mr John Morea

Dear Mr Morea,

CROUCHLAND BIOGAS LTD.

With reference to your letter dated 29th August 2017, you will now be aware that what you describe as the democratic planning process has now been concluded and the Planning Inspectorate have published a decision dismissing all of Crouchland's appeals and upholding the enforcement notices.

Now this last vestige of your defence for SGN's continued support of this morally and commercially bankrupt company has disappeared, I trust you will confirm that SGN will dissolve what remains of your partnership and remove the unlawful equipment.
Noting that SGN have apparently invested £4.57 million into a facility that was constructed without planning permission would suggest wrong doing that is more than simply commercial incompetence. I can but hope a full detailed forensic investigation will be undertaken into SGN's involvement and the culpable individuals.

Over the past years whilst this plant has been operating at a commercial level I, and many others, have suffered from the loss of our right to the peaceful enjoyment of our property. It is SGN's continued support that has enabled the plant to operate at such a level. The Parish Council and local community as a whole are deserving, and expect, recompense from SGN for the years of disturbance and expense of fighting this SGN-supported unlawful operation.

Yours sincerely

Can you help - and press reports........

  1. IF YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION OR CONCERNS REGARDING THE WAY IN WHICH THE CROUCHLAND BIOGAS BUSINESS HAS BEEN CONDUCTED, or have information regarding potential recoveries for the state, please contact the Administrators as soon as possible. Do contact us (by private message or email help@pore.org.uk) if you would prefer, or if you need the administrators' contact details. Remember that around £40 million is owed to the main creditor - how has this happened and who is responsible?

  2. The administrators for Crouchland Biogas are required to establish what assets the company owns and to consider the way in which the Company’s business has been conducted, in order that under the provisions of the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986, a report can be issued to the Secretary of State for Business and Industrial Strategy on the conduct of the Directors.

  3. For your information the current Directors are;
    Leon Mekitarian,
    Ewen Angus Cameron,
    William Luttman-Johnson
    Philip Gerrard,
    and Andrew Vernau.

    Directors who resigned recently are;
    Barry Evans
    and Graham Woolfman.

    Part of the Administrators schedule of work is to ‘Consider money laundering regulations and to perform immediate checks'.

    Please contact the administrators if you have any information that you think may be helpful.

  4. EVERYBODY'S WRITING ABOUT INSPECTOR KATIE PEERLESS' DECISION!

    Farmers Weekly; https://www.fwi.co.uk/…/west-sussex-biogas-business-loses-p…

    Midhurst and Petworth Observer...
    http://www.midhurstandpetworth.co.uk/…/villagers-win-their-…

    Landmark Chambers
    http://www.landmarkchambers.co.uk/news.aspx?id=5159

    39 Essex Chambers
    http://www.39essex.com/inspector-dismisses-planning-enforc…/

    Josef Ransley
    http://www.chichesterdistrictcouncil.info/…/crouchlands-bi…/

Decision made! Planning Inspector dismisses all the appeals!

All the Crouchland Biogas appeals have been dismissed by the Planning Inspector!

Put simply, this means that what they have done is unlawful and must stop. All the unauthorised equipment must be removed and the lagoons must be emptied and returned to their former state.

There is a possibility for Crouchland Biogas Ltd (or in fact the Administrators, FRP Advisory) to appeal this decision through the High Court but only on points of law ( if they believe the inspector has erre...d in law) - so we will have to wait and see.

This is a very positive decision for our community. The Inspector recognised the harm and detriment to our rural environment and the safety issues of the unlawful operation.

The decision means they have 1 month to cease unlawful operations (e.g. the import of feedstock from outside the farm and the use of the unauthorised equipment) and 18 months to dismantle all unauthorised equipment including the huge lagoon.

They can still operate the original, permitted, small scale on-farm AD which the community supported.

This sorry affair should never have been allowed to arise and has taken over 4 years and tens of thousands of pounds of our communities resources. We firmly believed in our cause and felt compelled to fight the injustice. Many lessons have been learnt; none more important than to never underestimate the passion and energy of a community to protect itself and it's environment when it has been wronged.

We will be calling on SGN the national gas company that has supported this unlawful activity to now do the right thing and remove its unauthorised gas conditioning equipment - the least they can do for the upset and distress they have helped cause.

Thank you to everyone for their continued support, including those from further afield and even those in the AD community who just knew that this site was dragging down the reputation of the AD Industry. Huge thanks to our Parish Councils, our legal team and our experts who have given time, money and substantial effort to get to this point. Despite all the thank yous, we still feel let down by certain organisations who failed to stop/slow this company when the alarm bells were ringing loudly. We hope lessons have been learnt here too.

It is not the end of the story, but a very significant step forward in returning this area to its rural tranquil environment.

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Boxal Bridge in Kirdford - action needed by this friday!

As Crouchlands is quiet, we felt that our local supporters would be very interested to read of a heritage site down the road in Kirdford which needs your attention by Friday.

West Sussex County Council has announced that they intend to replace Boxal Bridge and have placed the issue in their forward Plan for October. (CLICK ON THE LINK AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS ARTICLE TO SEE A PHOTO OF THE BRIDGE)

Update:

-          The bridge is safe and has passed the last 7 inspections (done every 2 years) and the next one will take place in 2019.

-          The bridge appears on an 1836 map.  Three independent Highways engineers agree it is in need of some attention but NOT REPLACEMENT.

-          It is a community asset in the Kirdford Neighbourhood Plan and listed as a heritage asset in Chichester District plan.

-          It is one of 4 bridges giving access to and from the village, two of which are listed.

-          The petition organised by KKWG to save the bridge in 2015 called for it NOT to be demolished attracted 3,376 signatures and triggered a WSCC Committee meeting.

-          At that meeting, WSCC adopted a resolution, October 16th, 2015

-          “that WSCC Highways work closely with the Kirdford and WG Parish Councils to explore the safest and most acceptable project for the future of the bridge, taking into account the rural environment as well as architectural and historical merit." 

-          Such close working has not happened.

-          Both Parishes OBJECT as they have done since 2013

-          The current plan FOR REPLACEMENT is unacceptable.

PROPOSED SCHEME TO REPLACE BOXAL BRIDGE – WSCC Forward Plan, October 2017

The decision is required for the replacement of Boxal Bridge, which currently suffers from numerous structural and safety issues.  The bridge is located on the borders of the parishes of Kirdford and Wisborough Green and carries the C109 over Boxal Brook.

“There has been extensive local objection to the proposal to replace the bridge, including a large public petition.  Other options have been considered for the scheme addresses all of the issues and will minimise future maintenance costs to the council.

“The Cabinet Minister will be asked to agree to the development of a scheme for the full replace-ment of Boxal Bridge.”

Decision will be made by;

Cabinet Member for Highways + Infrastructure – Bob Lanzer, Crawley

0330 222 2871 (Cabinet office); Local issues 01293 884789

Decision Month

October 2017

Consultation

Kirdford + WG Parish council, Local CC member, any other relevant stakeholders

IF YOU WISH TO COMMENT PLEASE CONTACT THE FOLLOWING TWO PEOPLE BY FRIDAY

RICHARD HAMMOND,                   

HIGHWAYS DEPT

WEST SUSSEX COUNTY COUNCIL

COUNTY HALL

WEST ST

CHICHESTER PO19 1RG

WEST SUSSEX

BOB LANZER

CLLR LEAD HIGHWAYS/CRAWLEY

C/0 WEST SUSSEX COUNTY COUNTIL

COUNTY HALL

WEST ST

CHICHESTER PO19 1RG

WEST SUSSEX

Cabinet Office: 0330 222 3838

Email: bob.lanzer@westsussex.gov.uk

https://drillordrop.com/2015/04/14/villagers-fight-to-save-historic-bridge-near-proposed-oil-site/

Over £40 MILLION owed by Crouchland Biogas to main creditor, Privilege Finance

Crouchland Biogas is in administration, with their main creditor alone, Privilege Finance, owed OVER £40 MILLION POUNDS.

The Directors of Crouchland Biogas (excluding those now appointed from Privilege Finance) over the past few years have been; (Ewen) Angus Cameron, William Luttman-Johnson, Leon Mekitarian, Barry Evans (resigned March 2016) and Graham Woolfman (resigned December 2014).

It is almost beyond belief that this company could secure such funding without planning consent. Perhaps it is not just this community that has been lied to.

The forensic department of the Administrators will be facing a real challenge - but we are sure they up to it. There are multiple questions to answer and the actions of these people will be under the spotlight.

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