South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon urges South Norfolk Council to reject Deal Farm Biogas application
The MP for South Norfolk has pledged his continued support for villagers opposed to a controversial waste plant.
In a statement read out at Tibenham Parish Council on Wednesday and a special meeting of Bressingham Parish Council the following evening, Richard Bacon labelled the decision by a developer to resubmit a planning application for Deal Farm Biogas as “acutely unfair”.
Last month, Storengy UK LTD announced it would be reducing the amount of feedstock travelling to the anaerobic digester plant, withdrawing its initial planning application and replacing it with a revised one.
Mr Bacon said that, in doing so, the developer was simply “gaming the planning process”.
He said: “It seems acutely unfair that, by simply adjusting one obvious factor, the applicant is now allowed to resubmit a full application and that, as a result, my constituents have to go through the whole process again – and this for a very big AD plant, which has already been substantially constructed, without planning permission.
“I believe this takes ‘gaming of the planning process’ to a new level and will add to the administrative burdens and costs for South Norfolk Council tax payers.”
Development on the plant had been ordered to cease by South Norfolk Council last year after Storengy began building additional digester tanks capable of processing significantly more than 24,000 tonnes of feedstock.
Residents have spent the best part of two years warning that the development would cause untold damage to the local environment and result in thousands of lorries travelling to and from the site every year.
In the latest application, Storengy said it would be reducing the amount of feedstock travelling to the plant, but not the size of the plant itself, raising the eyebrows of many campaigners.
Mr Bacon added: “Reducing the feedstock allowance in order to reduce traffic movements without enforcing the reduction in size of this construction does not make sense and, if planning consent was granted, it would open up the possibility of ‘development creep’ and a gradual uplift in the throughput of feedstock later on.
“The consequential growth in traffic movements would thus intensify and exacerbate the current situation on these lanes, potentially leading to hazardous manoeuvres and becoming even more dangerous for local residents.
The Conservative urged South Norfolk to refuse the application.
He said: “My constituents express a genuine sense of unfairness and anger over the roughshod manner in which they feel they have been treated.
“Given the scale of objection and local strength of feeling over this unapproved construction, I would request the council to refuse the application.”