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Councillors defer decision on large-scale digester for second time

14:37 12 June 2014

Archant

North Devon Council planning committee members still not satisfied with information at hand

COUNCILLORS have again deferred a decision on plans for a large scale ‘gas works’ on a South Molton farm.

Plans for a 1.3MW anaerobic digester the size of four Wembley football stadiums at Great Hele Farm were deferred by North Devon Council’s planning committee in May to allow a site visit.

Following the visit, members still had concerns over the noise and odour likely to be created by the digester, which is designed to turn farm and food waste into gas.

And councillors were unhappy with the scale of the operation, which would also put electricity back into the national grid, and were concerned that up to 75 per cent of the 23,000 tonnes of feedstock needed to operate it would have to be specifically grown on site.

Councillors were also warned that applicant Greener for Life had successfully appealed a decision for a smaller system in Tiverton.

George Nympton and Queen’s Nympton Parish Councils both recommended refusal.

David Manley, representing the applicant at Wednesday’s meeting, accused dissenting residents of using ‘emotive language’ to try to sway committee members.

Councillor Chris Turner said: “At the risk of using emotive language, it would fly in the face of all reason for this authority to remove 1,200-1,500 acres of good agricultural land.”

Cllr Paul Yabsley’s motion of refusal was lost, before members voted to defer their decision for a second time.

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