LETTER: Barrage of HGV lorries using site

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A huge industrial biogas plant has been recommended for approval by WSCC planning officers and goes before the planning committee on 3rd February.

It appears to me, gross negligence on the part of Chichester District Council has left the formerly peaceful community of Plaistow and its surrounding villages with an industrial biogas plant on their doorstep, which the owners Crouchland Biogas have expanded out of all recognition without planning permission.

WSCC now recommends that the part retrospective planning application for the site’s expansion is approved.

The rationale claimed by WSCC is that the original biogas consent did not control the type of waste or the number of traffic movements and as such it is better to approve a larger scheme controlled by condition and with mitigation measures, than to proceed with the original apparently unrestricted consent.

All logical stuff you think, until you consider that the relevant consents granted by Chichester DC are for just one combined heat and power engine (CHP). So no matter how much gas Crouchland Biogas has the capacity to produce, the present consents give it only one means of using that gas and that is by running it through the single approved CHP engine.

WSCC’s recommendation is for a massive industrial plant with a capacity of at least three times this. And what’s more it would approve in one fell swoop the applicant’s ability to liquify gas, which is something never envisaged in the original application and thereby generate yet more HGV traffic, as the gas is transported by tanker to Portsmouth.

There are many reasons to object to this scheme, but the over-riding damage comes in the form of HGV movement. The biogas site is fed by narrow and winding village lanes completely unsuitable for the unrelenting barrage of HGV lorries to and from the site.

Though WSCC repeatedly assert that the biogas plant and its consent is unrestricted in terms of traffic movement, this is most assuredly not the case.

The consent for a single CHP engine is analogous to a consent for a 30 seat restaurant which has been granted without control over the number of vehicles that visit. Why won’t there be huge traffic? Because the restaurant has just 30 seats.

Crouchland Biogas presently has consent for just one engine; yes a problem (due to being in use without the proper control), but not anything like as damaging as the proposed expansion!

Where Crouchland Biogas is concerned it proposes to marginally increase the volume of material delivered to site and in doing so claims that it will not generate anything more than a very slight increase in HGV traffic. And yet the site if approved will have at least three times the capacity of the present consent and the traffic movements relating to the export of gas alone equate to 48 per cent of all HGV movement; it just doesn’t add up.

Is it right that WSCC is now recommending the intensification of a hugely damaging use. A use that most certainly would not have been granted if Chichester District Council had used proper due diligence. No!

Chichester District Council will be subject to a formal complaint and one can only assume Local Authority Ombudsman inquiry and judicial review.

Common sense demands that this application is refused!

BEN WIBAUT

Foxbridge Lane, Kirdford