Biomass plant plans leave bad odour, say villagers

PUBLISHED: 11:08 12 January 2015

Archant

A PROPOSED anaerobic digestion plant on the outskirts of Brent Knoll and Mark would be 'detrimental' to the area's scenery and cause odour issues, say its objectors.

Plans for the renewable energy plant, on land adjacent to Harp Road, have been met with criticism by village figures, with Mark and Brent Knoll parish councils both raising objections to the proposals.

The development would see Bristol-based RolServ construct a large cylindrical building, around 25m in diameter and housing a 250kW digestion plant, which would take in sewage to produce methane gas, and in turn generate electricity.

Permission was first refused for a similar plant proposed by the same company in November 2013, when it was ruled contrary to Sedgemoor district’s core strategy.

Mark Parish Council concluded in a submission to Somerset County Council the site had proven an ‘unsuitable location’ for the plant, ‘constituting an obvious man-made intrusion into the countryside’.

The prevailing wind carrying ‘odour and noise’ onto Mark was another contentious issue, as well as the risk of flooding after residents reported incidents in previous years.

The criticisms were echoed by Brent Knoll Parish Council, with member Bob Filmer referring to the ‘very serious impact’ on nearby residents.

He said: “The issues are particularly down to the impact on the neighbouring property, a bungalow nearby.

“There would be a very serious impact on the amenity of the residents with the potential for noise and odour issues.

“To be frank, it would have a massive impact, and both ourselves and Mark would also be affected.”

Mr Filmer added that while the original plans rejected by the county council had been altered, the council retained many of the same concerns.

He said: “From what we can see in the plans, they have done some more landscaping and further explanatory documentation of the plant.

“But generally, we feel it is a very similar application and they haven’t addressed the issues as to why it shouldn’t be refused from the last time, and hopefully we will end up with the same result.”

The plans will now go forward to Somerset County Council, but will not be discussed until at least the start of February.

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