North Devon Council turn down a 1.3MW Anaerobic Digester

A North Devon Councillor claimed “unnecessary greed” was involved in an application for an anaerobic digester the size of “three Wembley stadiums” which has been rejected by North Devon Council Planners.

The application for a 1.3 MW anaerobic digester (CROUCHLAND Biogas have 2 MW digesters!) on land at Great Hele Farm near South Molton had already been before North Devon Council’s planning committee twice, and twice it had been deferred for more information.

It came back before the committee on Wednesday july 9 where once again members heard representations from several people objecting to the digester.

Trevor Allen said the scheme would “benefit no one at all in the community” and create no extra employment.

“The obvious effects are things like heavy goods vehicles, loss of arable land and noise, but what about things like property value?” he said. “Homes in the vicinity will lose value when people learn they are next to a gas works.”

Trudy Herniman, of George Nympton and Queens Nympton Parish Council, which recommended refusal of the plans, spoke at the meeting.

“A gas plant the size of three Wembley stadiums makes it impossible to enhance the beauty of our market town,” she said. “Also the people of South Molton don’t know about this because there has been no public consultation.”

Councillor Jeremy Yabsley was the first member to comment on the application, saying he had concerns that it was not a farm-based business.

Despite planning officers recommending the application be approved Mr Yabsley proposed it for refusal.

This was seconded by councillor Joe Tucker who said: “I think it is absolutely crazy to start putting gas factories in the middle of the countryside.”

Councillor Richard Edgell said the application did not represent his idea of farm diversification.

“It represents unnecessary greed in taking food from far more important consumers,” he added.

The council unanimously turned down the application.