Letter published this week in South-East Farmer magazine regarding Crouchland Farm/Biogas;
Your article on the above property (May 2016) was, for your readers, a taster of what has happened locally.
As a retired fruit grower/landowner in the area for all my life I worry for the farming industry’s public image through the actions of this one landowner.
Here is a farm that had one of the highest reputations for Dairy production in the UK under the management of Gwyn Jones (current chair of ruma.org) . At its peak there was a herd of 750 cows and Gwyn oversaw the introduction of a 1.5 mega-watt anaerobic digester. Whilst this was new technology, to the local populace, it was welcomed and seen as a sensible “green” in-house solution to their waste. In Europe most beef and dairy units have small units doing the same, contributing to power generation with green energy.
Sadly a few years ago the landowner appears to have brought in a new AD manager who decided things could be “much better” for the landowners returns, at which point Gwyn Jones ended his partnership.
This “new” management has since run roughshod over all local feelings. A local single track road has had to be remade, by the Council, at OUR (ratepayers) vast expense. The scale of the business has expanded beyond all expectations in “the interests of green energy production” we are told. Not only has material for digestion to be brought in but the end product, gas, has to be tankered to Portsmouth for introduction into the gas mains system.
How green is that?
My point is that by this landowner’s action FARMING as an industry gets a poorer name and whenever something new is introduced the local populace will start from a negative standpoint. Please do NOT think of it as NIMBY’sm.
Old fashioned communications could have helped resolve issues before they got out of hand.
Crouchlands has been in the same family for generations, HIGHLY respected by all locally. Sadly the latest generation have totally destroyed that and we now view the farm as a local polluting hazard.
You magazine makes for interesting and thought provoking reading, long may you continue!