Foreign Secretary Liz Truss weighs in on Deal Farm Biogas plant dispute
A second Norfolk MP has come out against plans for a controversial bioenergy development on the outskirts of a south Norfolk village.
Liz Truss, MP for South West Norfolk, has joined calls against plans for an anaerobic digester (AD) plant being built in Bressingham.
AD plants 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.
Ms Truss has argued the roads are too small, cannot support the increased traffic to the proposed plant and could pose a danger to pedestrians.
The Foreign Secretary joins Richard Bacon, MP for South Norfolk, who stated his objections in January.
Ms Truss’ objection comes following an expansion of the area covered by vehicles carrying waste products to the site from a 5km radius to 12km, meaning her constituency will also be affected by the plans.
Last year, the planning officer questioned the legality of the development, which deviated so far from a 2015 planning permission that it forced developer Deal Farm Biogas to stop work on it and submit a fresh planning application.
In a statement to South Norfolk Council’s planning department, Ms Truss (pictured) argued planning rules should be followed in “law and spirit”.
She said: “I believe that transport links to the plant would negatively affect the residents of villages such as Kenninghall, North Lopham and South Lopham.
“The roads through these villages are small and would not be able to support the increased traffic to the proposed plant.
“The increased noise, traffic and demand on these roads would heavily disrupt local residents and pose a danger to dog walkers, horse riders and other pedestrians.”
Ms Truss said the plant was in the wrong location and called on South Norfolk Council to refuse the application.
A spokeswoman for Deal Farm Biogas, the developer behind the plans, said: “We are aware of the community’s concerns regarding traffic movements in Bressingham and the surrounding villages relating to the AD plant at Deal Farm.
“The 2015 design and access statement referred to a 5km radius for crops grown, however, there was no limit on where manures and other agricultural by-products would be sourced from.
“The 12km radius has been introduced to place further limits on where material can come from and to help provide further advantages to local farms within this area.”
Tom Williamson, a south Norfolk Green Party co-ordinator, has also argued the number of vehicle movements will be far higher than in the original 2015 plans.
Seven years ago, the number of movements was estimated at 2,757. However, Mr Williamson said this has been revised in the December application, which shows the potential traffic load would increase to 3,172.
He raised concerns about the accuracy of the numbers, which count a vehicle entering and exiting the site as one movement, while he argues it should count as two. This would put the number of movements closer to 6,344.