Campaigners against a controversial waste plant in the Norfolk countryside believe recent changes to the Highway Code could strengthen their case.

Opponents of the anaerobic digester (AD) in Bressingham, near Diss, say the scheme will lead to an increase in the number of lorries near the site.

They have cited recent changes to the Highway Code saying drivers must give at least 1.5m space when overtaking cyclists at speeds up to 30mph, which they say will not be possible on the surrounding rural roads.

They have lodged their concerns with South Norfolk Council, which is considering an application for retrospective planning permission to allow the site to operate.

%image(14352663, type="article-full", alt="Norfolk County Council's highways department has called for anaerobic digester to be rejected")

Hazel Dormer, who lives near the plant, said: "Children and families won't be able to use the roads to exercise or go to school or work without getting in a car. We will be trapped in our houses."

Ms Dormer, 57, compared the scheme to one approved in Kenninghall, in Breckland, which she said is located on a main road wide enough to accommodate heavy vehicles.

To demonstrate their concerns, campaigners used a 1.5m piece of card to show the distance needed to overtake them on a bicycle, taking photos around Bressingham and Kenninghall.

%image(14380558, type="article-full", alt="Norfolk County Council's Highways Department said the pictures are not a "comprehensive assessment" but "demonstrate the inadequacies" of the routes")

The Bressingham site has been the subject of a long-running row, with two Norfolk MPs among those opposed to the scheme.

Norfolk County Council's Highways department has also reiterated its objections to the plans, saying "significant concerns remain outstanding".

In a statement to South Norfolk Council's development department, a Highways representative expressed doubts that the material to feed the digester would only come from within a 12km radius, leading to more HGV movements across rural roads.

The department also highlighted residents' Highways Code concerns, which it stressed were not a "comprehensive assessment" but "demonstrate the inadequacies" of the routes.

%image(14380559, type="article-full", alt="Residents argued the Kennighall AD plant was built on a main road able to take heavy vehicles")

A spokeswoman for Deal Farm Biogas - the company behind the Bressingham scheme - pointed out that existing farm vehicles would also struggle to comply with the revised Highways Code and said the firm had offered to create passing places along the roads.

She added: "We have demonstrated through the Transport Statement that the AD plant will eliminate a significant amount of double handling of materials and will reduce the number of traffic movements.

%image(14380560, type="article-full", alt="South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon is among those who objected to the previous plans")

"If the AD Plant does not go ahead, the same tractors will continue to use the roads around Deal Farm defined in the Transport Statement, but to a greater extent."

ADs are designed to use organic waste and crops – such as manure or maize – to create biomethane that will go into the national gas grid and ultimately be used to produce power.