North Shropshire farm defends bid to build biofuel store

Farm bosses have defended controversial plans to build a storage unit for biofuel near homes on the outskirts of Market Drayton.

North Shropshire farm defends bid to build biofuel store

Farm bosses have defended controversial plans to build a storage unit for biofuel near homes on the outskirts of Market Drayton.

Agents acting for Wilson Farming, which wants to build a store for the crop miscanthus, also known as elephant grass, have responded to residents' fears the plans could lead to a serious road accident. About 35 residents, including members of Sutton-upon-Tern Parish Council, staged a protest on Tuesday.

Placards have also appeared on the A529 in Woodseaves close to the proposed site.

But Peter Fenwick, agent for Wilson Farming of Market Drayton, said the proposal met local and national guidelines on delivering renewable energy.

Mr Fenwick said full-time jobs would be created and existing jobs protected if the plans were given the go-ahead.

In a statement, Mr Fenwick said: "I regret that local residents are objecting but I do wonder whether the fact that the use of biomass for energy security is relatively new and not generally well-known is the cause of the public's concern.

"The farm holding currently has 809 hectares and grows 16,000 tonnes of miscanthus which is baled and taken by lorry to the Drax power station in north Yorkshire. It is a Shropshire success story and the applicant, Wilson Farming, has won farming awards, employs local people and supports local businesses."

Residents believe the A529 and neighbouring roads are unsuitable for the HGVs that would be used to transport the crop to and from the proposed site.

But Mr Fenwick said vehicles would only travel south on the A529 towards Hinstock to connect with the A41 Whitchurch to Newport Road.

He added: "The scheme meets national and Shropshire planning guidance on delivering renewable energy.

"It will reduce the number of lorries taking miscanthus to the power station from five per week day to three and lorries will go south, not towards Market Drayton to the A41.

"The scheme is green energy at its best – no fertilizer, no chemical, no pollution and carbon negative."

Shropshire Council is expected to make a decision within the next month.

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