Bradford Estates objects to food energy plant expansion on Shropshire border
Plans to develop a food waste digestion unit straddling the Shropshire/Staffordshire border have been objected to by a major landowner seeking to build on green belt land near Tong.
An application was submitted to Staffordshire County Council to extend the Lower Reule food energy plant in Gnosall, next to land belonging to the Bradford Estates, where a number of residents live.
The estate, which has hit the headlines for its proposal to build thousands of homes on green belt land off Junction 3 of the M54, said it is supporting the view of residents in the area.
In a letter of objection submitted to the council, Mike Robinson, a senior planning consultant at Strutt & Parker, which acts on behalf of Bradford Estates, said the proposed nature of the facility was changing from a substrate storage site and processing facility to “what appears to be a regional hub for food processing and energy generation".
“The continued expansion of the site will cause disturbance and nuisance to the local community, represent a significant negative visual impact, and would have an overall detrimental effect on the rural character of the local area,” Mr Robinson said.
Other concerns raised included a significant increase of traffic movements, in particular lorries and HGVs, as well as concerns over the “smells from decaying food” at the site.
In response, managers at Lower Reule said the expansion looks to create a cleaner process with improved efficiency and that vehicle movements would not increase.
The estate also expressed concerns about the proposed reduction in landscaping at the site, which currently acts as a noise, light and smell barrier for local residents, and reports that the current traffic management scheme and existing planning permissions have not been adhered to.
In response, the Lower Reule management team said: "The Lower Reule Bioenergy AD plant has been processing food waste to generate green electricity for nine years. The new owners are improving the site to make the process cleaner with the addition of a depackaging plant, and also to improve the efficiency.
"These improvements will not result in any increase to vehicle movements to and from the site, as the traffic will remain at current levels. The changes will allow the AD plant to continue to produce green electricity to power up to 3,000 homes in the local area, contributing towards the greening of local energy, the creation of a local circular economy and help the UK’s goal of being carbon neutral by 2050.”
Viscount Alexander Newport, managing director of Bradford Estates, said: “We have a duty as an estate to make sure we are representing our residents when issues such as this arise.
“We care deeply about the estate and the surrounding local communities, and we have listened to the concerns of our community and will do all we can to support them in objecting to these plans.
“While we are supportive in principle of many sustainable technologies, we consider that this one is of an inappropriate scale, and would result in significant and detrimental adverse impacts on its surroundings.”