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Bressingham villagers voice opposition to new plans for Deal Farm Biogas



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Frustrated villagers have raised fresh fears about plans for an anaerobic digester (AD) in Bressingham.

On Monday, almost 70 people packed into Bressingham Village Hall for the second time in four months to express their concerns about the plans.

Late last year, the companies behind the AD were forced to cease work on the development and told to submit new proposals to South Norfolk Council, following complaints that the project had deviated from the conditions of its original 2015 planning permission.

Deal Farm AD Plant in Bressingham. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography 2021.
Deal Farm AD Plant in Bressingham. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography 2021.

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 claim they can generate pollution.

At Monday’s meeting, Amanda McMurray, chairman of Bressingham and Fersfield Parish Council, said she had invited energy firm Storengy to attend.

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

Residents at Bressingham Village Hall on Monday during a meeting to address the latest planning application for Deal Farm Biogas.
Residents at Bressingham Village Hall on Monday during a meeting to address the latest planning application for Deal Farm Biogas.

One villager told the meeting: “They’re going to destroy everything that will enable ordinary people from the community to walk safely; to cycle safely.”

The meeting heard that the sheer scale of the development – it includes two large digester tanks – meant it could be seen from Diss.

In one particularly scathing criticism, a resident said: “The owner of Deal Farm decided to do a deal with some energy company and tried to make a lot of money.

“They don’t give a damn about the people, environment or anything – all they care about is making money.”

Scenes were reminiscent of October last year, when residents filled the village hall to oppose the previous planning application.

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.

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

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, funds would be set aside to ensure that it could be removed safely and revert back to agricultural land.”

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

In a statement, Deal Farm Biogas said: “We are aware that a public meeting was held on Monday, and we are grateful to have been invited to speak. Unfortunately, we were unable to attend the session at this time.

“Following discussions with the clerk at Bressingham and Fersfield Parish Council, we will seek to respond to the key concerns and questions raised at the meeting in due course.

“In the meantime, we encourage members of the local community to visit the project website to access more information about the AD plant and the new application.”

Residents can lodge comments on the latest planning application by clicking here.



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