Tongue End is up in arms over energy production

PLANT DISPUTE: Residents from Counter Drain Drove, Tongue End, opposing plans for anaerobic digester plant near their homes.  Photo by Tim Wilson.
PLANT DISPUTE: Residents from Counter Drain Drove, Tongue End, opposing plans for anaerobic digester plant near their homes. Photo by Tim Wilson.
  • Battle lines to be drawn for anaerobic digester dispute
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A South Holland hamlet that staged bare knuckle fights in the 19th century is squaring up for a fight of a very different kind today.

People in Tongue End are putting on their boxing gloves ready for a contest, that could go the distance, over plans to build a plant capable of turning animal and food waste into energy and fertilisers.

Philip Green, ex-chief executive of United Utilities (left) and Baron Mark Price, former managing director of Waitrose, at an anaerobic digestion plant in Cheshire.  Photo: Jon Super/PA Wire MJS.

Philip Green, ex-chief executive of United Utilities (left) and Baron Mark Price, former managing director of Waitrose, at an anaerobic digestion plant in Cheshire. Photo: Jon Super/PA Wire MJS.

An anaerobic digestion plant, which W.D. Branton Farmers of Deeping St Nicholas want to build on more than eight acres of land near Counter Drain Drove, Tongue End.

But residents are against the plans which, they claim, would lead to increased traffing on unsuitable roads such as the A151, A1175 and A15 between Market Deeping and Bourne.

Nick Garner of Tongue End, spokesman for a newly-formed residents’ action group fighting the plans, said: “The intention is to build the anaerobic digestion plant on semi-industrial land about 330 metres south of 22 semi-detached residential properties in the hamlet.

“The reason is because it gives them access to a gas mains pipe for the biomethane gas which the plant will process.

We simply don’t want it here as it will be a complete eyesore and the road system they will need to use is totally unsuitable for traffic

Nick Garner of Tongue End

“But we simply don’t want it here as it will be a complete eyesore and the road system they will need to use is totally unsuitable for traffic.

“Apart from the fact that the site is in completely the wrong place, it’s a known fact such plants do give off very bad odours because of the process involved and the storage of the products used which produces hydrogen sulphide and ammonia.”

A spokesman for W.D. Branton Farmers, said: “The proposal has incorporated a range of odour mitigation measures within its technical design, with crop ensiling on site that will be tightly sheeted and only a single open face to the plant which is narrow.

“The tight sheeting of the silage to be used in the process enables it to be retained in a condition preferable for use in the process as it would not be best practice to allow crop to ensile uncovered.

“The proposal is also entirely crop-fed and does not involve any waste processing as the feeder is located beside the building, with a hydraulic cover which will minimise any odour escape.

“On passing to the digester, the entire digestion system is sealed as the digestion process relies on the absence of oxygen, thus minimising the risk of odour arising from the anaerobic digestion itself.

“There will be no odour emissions from the digestion process itself and afterwards, the material will be stored and transported back to agricultural land by tractor and tanker where it will be spread onto fields.

“Given the sealed pumps, pipes and valves, there should be no emission of odour whilst removing the liquid digestate from the store to containerised transport.

“The siting is designed to enable a significant proportion of movements to be made on private highway networks away from public roads and local residents. “Furthermore, it is intended that where the public highway is utilised, traffic will head east from the site and towards the A151 away from Tongue End. The gas generated will be safely piped underground into the national grid directly from the site.”

The planning application for the anaerobic digester plant in Tongue End was discussed at a meeting of Deeping St Nicholas Parish Council on Monday.

A parish council spokesman said: “The council’s objectives are threefold, to ensure a safe environment for residents, to protect the natural environment in which the residents live and, as far as possible, to foster economic prosperity.

“During the meeting on Monday, the applicant gave a short explanation of the suggested development and its impact on the area.  

“However, the parish council was aware of the strong feeling of the Tongue End community and therefore allowed four local residents to give short statements.

“The mood among the 30 or so residents at the meeting, representing Willow Fen Farm Action Group, made it very obvious as to their views on the 

application. 

“Deeping St Nicholas Parish Council believes that the application contradicts two out of its three objectives and, as a result, under parish council chairman William Rodwell recorded a vote to object to the application on the basis that:-

1) The access route would be inadequate for the amount of extra traffic that would be generated;

2) Concerns over the predicted smells that would come from the facility and:-

3) The detrimental visual impact on the area.