Wednesday, January 16, 2013
One of three major renewable energy projects proposed to be built within metres of each other on land between Fakenham and Wells is expected to be approved by councillors this week.
Egmere Energy’s application to build a anaerobic digestion plant at Egmere is to be discussed by North Norfolk District Council’s (NNDC) development committee on Thursday and has been recommended for approval by council planning officer Geoff Lyon.
The recommendation comes despite several objections.
The Highways Department has objected, stating that access is unsatisfactory and the proposed development would be detrimental to highway safety.
The Environment Agency has objected on the grounds that the application fails to provide assurances over risk of pollution to controlled waters. It says that a full risk assessment is required from the applicant.
NNDC has also received 10 letters of objection from members of the public.
Much of this opposition centres on the cumulative impact Egmere Energy’s application could have alongside two other proposed renewable energy projects, planned to be built within metres of it.
We have previously reported how Solar Power Generation Ltd (SPGL) has plans to build a solar park next to the proposed anaerobic digestion plant and NNDC itself wants to create a business park for companies which could support the renewable energy industry.
But in his report to councillors, Mr Lyon said: “There is no reason to suggest that the committee is unable to determine this application on its own, particularly as it is the smallest of the proposed developments at Egmere and is likely to have the least impact.”
Concerns have also been raised about the increased traffic that would result from the development, and the risk in particular this would pose to children waiting for the school bus, and the impact the development could have on the former North Creake airfield as a site of historical importance.
Norfolk Historic Environment Services said it has no objection to the principle of the development but has asked for it to be moved to a another site nearby.
Barsham Parish Council has expressed concerns about the “unacceptable increase” in traffic that would be caused but Holkham and Wells parish councils both support the scheme.
Mr Lyon’s report concludes: “Whilst the instillation of an anaerobic digestion plant would, amongst other things, have some visual impact on the surrounding landscape and would result in an increase in traffic on the local network it is considered the proposal would not have a significant impact on residential amenity and, subject to the imposition of appropriate conditions the proposal would comply with relevant development plan policies.”
Mr Lyon recommends granting approval subject to the satisfactory resolution of concerns raised by the Highway Authority.