Biogas plan in south Norfolk village leads to road safety fears

Aerial view of the Deal Farm site at Bressingham.

Aerial view of the Deal Farm site at Bressingham. - Credit: Loudvfx

Frustrated villagers have raised fresh fears about plans for an anaerobic digester (AD) on the outskirts of a Norfolk village.

Almost 70 people packed into Bressingham village hall on Monday evening to express their concerns about the plans.

The AD is being built in Bressingham, near Diss, but late last year the companies behind it had to submit new proposals to South Norfolk Council, following complaints that the project had deviated from the conditions of its original 2015 planning permission.

Supporters of AD plants - which produce fuels from materials like maize or manure -  say they are environmentally-friendly because they generate energy from waste materials. But critics have questioned this, claiming they can generate pollution.

Amanda McMurray, chairwoman of the Bressingham and Fersfield Parish Council, said she had invited energy firm Storengy to attend, who had refused, citing Covid concerns.

However, to the frustration of those gathered, Ms McMurray said they had promised to send someone - who would not identify themselves - who would write down any questions and address them later. 

Sue Butler, who lives at Villa Farm next to the site, was among those who argued the new plans were of such a scale that they should be classed as industrial, which would see a more strict planning process. 

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Ms Butler said if the development is approved the developer should be made to put money aside for the decommissioning work so the cost is not passed on to the taxpayer. 

“At any future date where it becomes unoperational and needs decommissioning, the funds are set aside to ensure that it would be removed safely, fully compliant and reverted back to agricultural land.”  

Several said lorries going along country lanes made their houses shake. 

Another resident said the latest plans indicated fewer but bigger lorries, which added to her safety fears. 

“They're going to destroy everything that will enable ordinary people from the community to walk safely, to cycle safely,” she added. 

One man said the site could be seen from Diss and lights on lightning rods would be seen in the market town

James Easter, vice-chairman of South Norfolk Council and Bressingham councillor, promised that he would also raise their issues with the authority and developers.

Residents were urged to submit comments on the planning application, which is set to close on January 26.

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