Plans to build a new waste treatment facility to turn food waste into energy have been met with strong objections by local residents.
A planning application has been made by Bradford-based firm Gascorp Delta Ltd to build the plant on farmland in Beeford.
At a packed meeting in the community centre in the village last night (Monday) which was attended by more than 250 people, local residents voiced their concerns and fears over the proposed scheme.
They say the scale of the operation is not suitable for a rural setting such as Beeford and they fear for pollution such as noise and smell and in particular traffic problems caused by lorries travelling to and from the site.
Ward councillors Jane Evison and Jonathan Owen attended the meeting and pledged to offer support and advice to residents.
The proposed anaerobic digestion facility will use farm and food waste to generate gas, which will then be fed into the national gas grid.
The plant, which would be located on land belonging to West Farm in Beeford, would process 82,000 tonnes of waste per year which would create enough renewable biogas to power around 5,400 homes.
The remaining decomposed food will then be used to produce bio-fertiliser for farmland.
Speaking to the Driffield & Wolds Weekly before the meeting, Beeford resident David Goodwin, who chaired the meeting, said: “This is not a proposal for an agricultural facility, it is an industrial plant and the placing is far from ideal.
“With the increase in population organic waste needs to be disposed of in a sympathetic manner, but there is a lot of waste industrial land, well away from residents and with the right infrastructure, which would suit a development like this.
“The amount of lorries which will be coming to and from this plant in a small rural village is not acceptable. Every person in Beeford will be affected by this recommendation.”
Angela McKie, who lives close to the proposed site and who owns a caravan site on the access route said this would have a huge impact on the quality of life of local residents.
She said: “We are entitled to enjoy our countryside and our surroundings and my biggest concern with this, is the sheer scale of the operation. The local infrastructure just cannot cope with it.”
“I do not have any objections to the idea of the digester and I like progress but this has not been thought through properly. This is not the right site.
“It is a quiet rural area and the number of lorries carrying waste to the site which will have to pass through the village and past our school will have a huge impact on the quality of people’s lives and is causing a lot of stress for local residents.”
She added: “We have brought this issue to the attention of residents, it is now up to individuals to raise their concerns with the planning department at the council.”
Following a meeting at Foston on the Wolds on Thursday 22nd October, which was attended by 20 people, the Parish Council has objected to the application.
The main arguments put forward by the council include lack of consultation with local residents, the scale of the development, which the council believes is ‘out of character’ and concerns that the ‘road network is totally insufficient for the projected vehicle movements and vehicle sizes’.
Sandra Grantham, who lives on the farm near to the proposed site, only heard about this planning application by chance having received no letter. She also attended the emergency meeting in Foston on Thursday evening.
She said: “This is a huge industrial plant which will have a massive impact not only on Beeford, Brigham, Kelk, Foston and North Frodingham, but also on the wider area of villages on route to the site.
“I am concerned about the pollution from the plant. The plant will be fuelled by fish and meat waste products and the smell will have a big impact.”
In a statement from Gascorp Delta Ltd, the company said the scheme was in line with Government strategy to mitigate climate change and reduce over-reliance on fossil fuels and expensive energy imports.
It said: “The proposed scheme at West Farm aims to re-use organic feedstocks coupled with new technological advancements and is in line with the Government’s commitment to introduce measures to promote an increase in energy from waste through anaerobic digestion.
“Simply, the proposed anaerobic digestion plant will take organic waste and produce renewable power, bio-fertiliser and reduce the amount of synthetic fertiliser going onto farmland.
“The scheme will create jobs, generate energy (when the sun isn’t shining or the wind blowing), provide cost effective carbon reduction, help us to meet our energy security needs and help keep local farmers farming.
“Traffic movements will be low and there will be no local noise or odour impact.”
The company added it intends to hold a community drop-in event in November to allow local residents to learn more about the proposed scheme.