English Whisky producer raises fears over new biogas energy plant following council go ahead

Andrew Nelstrop MD of The English Whiskey Company in Roudham checks products in the shop. Photograph

Andrew Nelstrop MD of The English Whiskey Company in Roudham checks products in the shop. Photograph Simon Parker - Credit: Archant

An English whisky pioneer has said the approval of a new biogas energy plant above a key aquifer could spell problems for his award-winning product - and future generations.

Breckland Council yesterday approved plans from Essex-based Strutt & Parker Farms for a new biomass energy plant at Camp Farm in Bridgham.

The approval came despite more than 25 objections from residents, councils and businesses.

Among the objectors was Andrew Nelstrop, managing director of English Whisky, in Roudham.

He said the plant's approval had the potential to cause 'gradual and catastrophic' pollution to surface and underground water.

And while any impact might not be felt in the short-term, Mr Nelstrop warned that future generations would feel the effect most of all.

'The Breckland aquifer is the biggest in the country and produces one of our main ingredients - a plentiful supply of clean water.

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'Anything that could leak into that water source would have a monumental potential for problems for future generations. It might not be in five years time, but could be in ten if we are not lucky,' he said.

And with the slow process of distilling meaning English Whisky must plan 50 years ahead, Mr Nelstrop said there could be implications for his business.

'If the water supply were polluted, it would have a major effect on the quality of the product.

'We can process and filter water, but it's just not the same as having natural, beautiful spring water,' he said.

Charlie Fillingham, Strutt & Parker Farm's managing director, did not address objectors' concerns, but said he was pleased with the plant's approval.

'This is a technology that helps everybody in the long-term,' he said.

What do you think? Email andrew.fitchett@archant.co.uk

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