Work on controversial biogas plant to halt

South Norfolk Council is considering legal action against the Bressingham anaerobic digester 

Work on the Bressingham Anaerobic digester will stop on Friday, the company has promised - Credit: Supplied

Work on a controversial village biogas plant will finally stop after a council requested it a month ago. 

The construction of an anaerobic digester (AD) - a system that produces fuels from materials like maize and manure – in Bressingham, near Diss, has continued this week, despite a council raising concerns about the legality of the development. 

In a letter to BioWatt, the developers, in October, Tim Barker, a South Norfolk Council (SNC) planning officer, said development should stop until a full planning application has been heard. 

Neighbours have continued to complain about the ongoing development, with one saying work was happening “under massive lights” on Wednesday evening.

South Norfolk Council has retained its Investors in People 'Platinum' Status. Picture: South Norfolk

South Norfolk Council confirmed that a planning application is expected in December - Credit: Archant

An SNC spokesperson said on Thursday they had been informed by BioWatt that it has instructed contractors to wind down and stop all work by the end of this week.

This was confirmed by a Storengy Ltd Spokesperson, who spoke on behalf of BioWatt, but added it was a complex process and they had items in transit.

They said: "It is important to highlight that additional work is required to dismantle the construction operation and to install additional security now that the site is no longer under construction.

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"We are therefore working as swiftly as possible to conclude work in a safe and practical manner with these considerations in mind."

The spokesperson said they had received no correspondence from SNC instructing them to stop work beyond Mr Barker's comments in October.

The majority of work will cease on Friday, November 19, with only ongoing maintenance and security continuing.

"Residents will observe the construction compound being dismantled during this time," they added. 

The spokesperson insisted there were no concerns about the legality of the work, despite Mr Barker's earlier comments and planning permission was followed correctly. 

Matthew and Karen Le Grys, who live near the site, welcomed the news but said they had a "bit of hesitation".

"We have heard this before, the question is moving forward what do we need to do and how has this been allowed to get as far as it has."

In September, BioWatt submitted a variation of condition planning application for the site, which drew overwhelming negativity, with 217 letters of objection against 117 in support. 

The planning application was withdrawn last Thursday for more work by the developer and is expected to be resubmitted in December.

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