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Attleborough energy plant plans resubmitted

PUBLISHED: 09:00 14 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:15 14 July 2010

Adam Gretton

Norfolk's green energy industry could be set for a boost after plans were resubmitted for a biogas power plant on the edge of Attleborough. The anaerobic digestion unit, which would act like a giant mechanised 'cow's stomach would be run on manure and silage, and produce enough electricity for 1,500 homes.

Norfolk's green energy industry could be set for a boost after plans were resubmitted for a biogas power plant on the edge of Attleborough.

The anaerobic digestion unit, which would act like a giant mechanised “cow's stomach” would be run on manure and silage, and produce enough electricity for 1,500 homes.

Officials from the renewable energy firm behind the plans yesterday moved to ease local fears about noise, smell and traffic problems at the site at Crows Hall Farm.

The proposals by SS Agriservices - a group of farmers and agricultural contractors in Norfolk and Suffolk - were submitted to Breckland Council last month after being withdrawn in the summer following objections from the Environment Agency over concerns about odour levels.

But Tim Evans, managing director of Renewable Zukunft , which is working in partnership with the applicant, said the company had been working to inform objectors about the workings and benefits of a biogas plant.

The power station at the poultry farm, off Stony Lane, Attleborough, which would be the first of its kind in Norfolk, would be fuelled by manure and waste crops such as maize, cereals, and grains from local farms and breweries, and would use the methane gas produced to drive a generator and produce electricity.

Mr Evans said there were only a handful of anaerobic digestion plants in the UK, compared to the 7,500 in Germany and Austria. He added that biogas was a more reliable and “attractive” source of energy than onshore and offshore wind farms.

“The government is putting lots of money into wind farms, which only run for 25pc of the year, and we run for 95pc of the year.”

“It is not windy everywhere, but there are farms everywhere and one of the attractions of Crows Hall Farm is that it is very close to a suitable connection to the National Grid.”

“Germany and Austria realise there is a serious issue, which has nothing to do with the environment but the need to have a sustainable fuel supply. In the UK we are used to North Sea gas and that is running out very rapidly and by 2020 we will be importing 80pc of our oil from Russia,” he said.

Mr Evans added that the manure used in the digestion process will be kept in an underground tank to reduce odour concerns and a new access road would be created off the B1077 Attleborough Road.

Residents have until the beginning of February to air their views on the application, which is set to be determined by Breckland Councillors in March.

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