Both sides have claimed victory following a planning inspector’s ruling on a Plaistow energy farm.
Crouchland Farm in Rickman’s Lane had appealed against a partial decision by West Sussex County Council to grant it a certificate of lawful development for the current operation of its Anaerobic Digester plant.
While the inspector partially granted the appeal, including for the two metal containers to aid gas conditioning for biogas plant, she did not do so for the separator and the flare, nor importation of waste and any other materials for anaerobic digestion from land outside the farm’s boundaries.
Leon Mekitarian, managing director for Crouchland Farm, said: “We are delighted that this ruling grants us permission to continue to produce and export renewable energy for the benefit of the whole country, protecting the livelihoods of the people that work on our farm.
“We are also very pleased that the planning inspector paid no heed whatsoever to the accusations that were made against myself and Crouchland Biogas by the local protest group.
“Now that this stage of the legal proceedings has come to a close, we look forward to continuing to rebuild relationships with local communities and parish councils whom we hope will soon agree to our offer of ten years free gas to heat their village halls. We believe that everyone should benefit from the renewable energy we provide.”
Sara Burrell, chair of Plaistow and Ifold Parish Council, said: “As a parish council we are pleased that the independent planning inspector has confirmed that Crouchland Biogas is only lawfully allowed to process waste produced from the land at Crouchland Farm, and that it is unlawful for them to import feedstock for their anaerobic digester.
“This decision supports what both the local parish councils and the local community have been saying all along. Crouchland Biogas only has permission for is a small scale ‘on-farm’ Anaerobic Digestion facility to process ‘on-farm’ slurry and waste. We now hope that those responsible for running Crouchland Biogas respect the decision of the independent planning inspector and stop the thousands of inappropriate HGVs from causing damage to our local environment and return the site to what was fully supported by the local community, a small scale AD facility for processing on farm slurry and waste.”
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