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.