Food and farm waste will be turned into bio fuel after permission granted for a plant on the outskirts of Turves
PUBLISHED: 10:37 25 July 2018 | UPDATED: 10:37 25 July 2018
An anaerobic digester on seven hectares of land on the outskirts of Turves will turn food and farm waste into bio fuel after county councillors gave it the go ahead.
In a planning committee meeting at Cambridgeshire County Council the submission for West Fen Farm, Whittlesey Road, March, was approved despite concerns for the safety of cyclists.
The plan includes two 9.3m high digester tanks, a combined heat and power biogas generator with 10m exhaust pipe, a 6m high flare stack, three separated digestate liquid storage lagoons, a harvested water storage lagoon, a workshop, all the associated infrastructure along with landscaping.
Helen Wass, development management officer (strategic and specialist applications), for Cambridgeshire County Council, outlined the construction of the new biomethane gas and electric, anaerobic digestion plant
Ms Wass said: “The site of the proposed anaerobic digester plant is in a remote, rural area 3km northeast of the small village of Turves, and 3.5km northwest of the westernmost part of March.
“The project is to generate energy by the biological treatment (anaerobic digestion) of organic waste and crops, the thermal output of which would be in the region of five megawatts.
“The proposed development site is seven hectares (17.3 acres), and vehicular access would be from an existing spur road leading to West Fen Farm from Whittlesey Road.
“This private spur road is some 1.9 km long and will require widening at specific passing places 30 m in length to allow multiple vehicles to pass one another”.
Ms Wass went on to explain: “The annual capacity of the plant would be 58,500 tonnes, of which some 45,500 tonnes would be food and farm waste, while the remaining 13,000 tonnes would comprise crops grown on West Farm Fen or neighbouring farms.
“It is expected that at least 40 per cent of the feedstock would be sourced from West Fen Farm or neighbouring farms, while the remaining 60 per cent of feedstock would be food waste brought to the site in tankers at a rate of four loads (HGV movements) per day,”
It is being suggested that operating times be Monday to Friday, 7am to 6pm and Saturday 8am to 1pm.
“This food waste would be sourced primarily from an existing food processing plant based at Spalding in Lincolnshire, approximately 45km away, by road,” Ms Wass said.
Councillor Joan Whitehead expressed concerns about HGV vehicles on roads used by cyclists.
“It seems to me that the possibility of as many as 27 vehicle movements a day is excessive and will impact upon cyclists that I know use this road.
“I have studied the proposal and the Ordnance Survey map clearly shows two alternative routes to West Fen Farm that are shorter in distance. Why were these not considered for vehicle access?
“Both routes that you mention are significantly narrower than the existing spur road proposed”, explained Helen Wass. “And while you are correct in the figures, 27 movements a day is the maximum expected, which combines the HGV tanker transports as well as existing traffic to and from West Fen Farm already, the straw and poultry waste already being part of the highway movements in that area”.
Cllr Whitehead said: “Clearly you are not a cyclist. And just how vital is it that this facility be used on a Saturday, a day when leisure cyclists use these roads the most?”