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Objectors lose appeal against Norfolk village biogas plant

PUBLISHED: 17:00 19 April 2013

Barbara Burridge with other residents of Heath Farm near Kenninghall who have been battling against plans for a Biogas plant being built in fields near their homes. l-r: Steve Whittle, Anne Kay and Rory Shiells.

Barbara Burridge with other residents of Heath Farm near Kenninghall who have been battling against plans for a Biogas plant being built in fields near their homes. l-r: Steve Whittle, Anne Kay and Rory Shiells.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2012

Objectors to plans for a biogas plant in a Norfolk village have lost their latest appeal against the facility.

Judges at the Court of Appeal in London rejected Kenninghall resident Barbara Burridge’s appeal against Greenshoots Energy’s plans for an anaerobic digestion unit and associated storage on land off Garboldisham Road.

However, the judges themselves admitted that the position now remains “unclear” because while the case has progressed through the courts, Greenshoots has subsequently made two new planning applications.

The new applications are “in all material respects identical” to the two previous ones, but have been the subject of a Government decision last December that a full environmental impact assessment (EIA) is needed before they can be granted.

The question mark in the light of today’s judgement is whether Greenshoots may abandon the new ones and go ahead with the scheme under the earlier planning permissions which won the court’s backing.

Mrs Burridge, of Heath Farm, Lopham Road, Kenninghall, near Diss, claimed that the initial planning consents should be quashed on the basis that the council failed to initiate a full EIA to consider the noise, smell and pollution impacts that would result from the plant, which would create energy from chicken slurry, maize and poultry litter.

The council granted two planning consents, one for a biomass renewable energy plant on land off Garboldisham Road and the other for a combined heat and power plant on nearby land at Crown Milling, Heath Road.

The judges considered the council had adopted a detailed screening opinion in March 2011 for the original planning application for the plant and considered it “would not be likely to result in significant effects on the environment,” so no EIA was needed.

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