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Spalding and Surfleet residents raise fears over digester plans

Plans have been lodged to build an anaerobic digester plant on the edge of Spalding – but concerns have been raised by residents.

Naylor Farms is already building a €39million protein extraction plant in Rangell Gate and has now applied to South Holland District Council for an anaerobic digester (AD) plant – with the promise of 60 new jobs.

This proposed AD plant is expected to generate around 70GWh of biomethane and 8GHh of power which will be used to power the world’s first brassica protein extraction site.

Naylor Farms site in Rangell Gate
Naylor Farms site in Rangell Gate

An application has also been lodged by Naylor Farms for a proposed plant based protein extraction facility and anaerobic digester plant on land east of Surfleet Bank and west of Woad Farm, Surfleet.

Speaking at the recent full council meeting, Coun Rob Gibson said of the Spalding application: “I have had a lot of correspondence from residents over the AD plant concerning around the smell from the digester. Some residents are very close but it is only a stone’s throw from Helmsley Way, Birch Grove and more.

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“As a council, are we able to do due diligence of how residents are affected?”

Council leader Nick Worth responded to said that Environmental Health would be having a big say on the application.

The design and access statement which has been submitted with the application states: “As part of the ongoing investment in research and new technologies Naylor farms are seeking to extent their site with the provision of an anaerobic digester plant adjacent to their current site on the site of an existing farmyard in fields on the corner of Low Road and Rangell Gate.

“This facility will be the first of its kind in South Holland will both highlight and strengthen Spalding and South Holland’s Environmental Credentials. The site has been chosen because of its accessibility, being to transport links and proximity to local labour sources with the creation up to 60 full time equivalent members of staff.

“The proposal will create a positive environmental impact on the area reducing waste, transport and carbon footprint in addition to biodiversity enhancements on the site itself which will improve the local area.”

Plant material will be broken down by micro-organisms within a sealed tank or digester, the application states.

The design and access statement, which says that AD technology has been used since the 1800s, adds: “Naturally occurring micro-organisms digest the biomass, which releases a methane-rich gas (biogas) that can be used to generate renewable heat and power; this helps cut fossil fuel use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The remaining material (digestate) is rich in nutrients, so it can be used as a fertiliser.

“AD is the only one of the four options that produces renewable energy as well as recovering the nutrients in the waste in the form of digestate.

“In terms of gas yield the AD plant would be expected to generate around 70GWh of biomethane to be produced from the plant and injected into the grid per year. In addition the plant will generate around 8GHh of power which will feed the adjacent plant based extraction facility and fed into the grid.”

The Surfleet application states: “In addition to the processing plan the new facility will have product storage and a separate research and development building which will look into new products with the Outer Dowsing Windfarm project on an adjacent site it quickly became apparent that the site could also support an Anaerobic Digester plant which would provide energy grids that will be installed as part of the Wind Farm project.”

Surfleet Parish Council has also lodged concerns about the plans for the Surfleet proposal.

The authority’s comments on the application state: “We organised a parish meeting at just five days notice and 70 residents attended to express their concerns. A number of reports appear missing around drainage, highways impact and wild life assessment, other organisations have already commented on this aspect. The application does not appear sufficiently complete for an accurate assessment on the impact to be made on Surfleet village.

“The parish council will be arranging a further meeting at the request of parishioners and will seek the attendance of the applicant Naylor farms and a member of SHDC planning department, in the meantime we believe this application should be deferred to allow this to take place and for missing reports to be provided. LCC highways will need also to consider access to the factory from the A16 which is a fast busy main trunk road.”

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