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Bernard Matthews looking to build renewable energy plant which could fuel 17,000 homes

PUBLISHED: 09:27 16 October 2015 | UPDATED: 09:27 16 October 2015

Bernard Matthews is one of the largest employers in the area and it is based at Great Witchingham.

Bernard Matthews is one of the largest employers in the area and it is based at Great Witchingham.

Archant

A poultry giant is looking to build a renewable energy plant which it claims could fuel 17,000 homes.

Bernard Matthews is seeking permission from Breckland Council to build an anaerobic digestion (AD) facility on the edge of the former airfield at Hilborough Road, North Pickenham.

It is estimated it would use 9,730 tonnes of chicken litter per year as well as 40,270 tonnes of maize silage and energy beet.

The digestate, what is left after the creation of biogas, produced by the plant would be spread on farmer’s fields locally.

The company has said the plant will create two permanent jobs on site as well as creating work during the construction phase.

In a design and access statement submitted to Breckland on behalf of Bernard Matthews, the applicant said the scheme was “a contextually appropriate, sympathetic and sustainable development”.

AD sees biogas created using microorganisms to break down organic material in an environment with no oxygen.

Breckland officers have concluded the scheme “would assist in meeting targets for renewable energy generation, including through AD, and would contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions” and have recommended it for approval.

Swaffham Town Council has raised no objections to the scheme, however North Pickenham Parish Council has said it is concerned about the impact of such a facility on traffic in the area.

While Norfolk County Council’s highway department had objected to the bid there have been a number of alterations to access and officers consider traffic impact would be minimal.

Bernard Matthews is one of the largest employers in the area and it is based at Great Witchingham.

It has 56 farms across Norfolk, Suffolk and Lincolnshire.

The plans will be discussed at Breckland Council planning committee on Monday.

What do you think? Write to doug.faulkner@archant.co.uk

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