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Biogas plans to ‘save tax payer £1m’
A TWEMLOW farmer says that a biogas plant could save Cheshire East taxpayers more than £1million a year.
Ray Brown, of Orchards Farm, told the Guardian that his proposed facility, which will create 15 jobs, could handle 12,000 tonnes of food waste that currently goes to landfill.
The 52-year-old wants to build a green energy plant at the former Ministry of Defence depot in Twemlow Lane and spoke out an at an exhibition on September 6.
If planning permission is granted, a process called ‘anaerobic digestion’ will be used to break down slurry and food waste.
But Mr Brown is facing opposition from nearby residents who fear that country lanes will be clogged by HGVs and have concerns about smells and noise from generators.
He said: “It’s understandable people are concerned as it’s quite a new technology for this country although there’s a lot in Europe, especially in Germany.
“We should produce enough electricity to support around 2,900 houses - all from waste - as well as saving the taxpayer more than a £1million a year.
“The problem of landfill is you’re not just putting food waste in the ground. When it breaks down the methane created is 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide.”
But Janet Capper, of Twemlow and Goostrey No To Waste Plant, said: “Our country lanes with blind bends and narrow bridges would not be able to cope with so many HGVs and large farm tankers bringing in about 47,000 tonnes of food waste and slurry and then taking 41,000 tonnes of digestate away.
“Sites of this kind should not be approved so close to homes and a school. Goostrey School is less than 750 metres from the northern edge of the site away.”
If approved, the project will be called the Community Renewable Energy Scheme (CRES).
Mr Brown hopes to get permission for the 12 acre site, which has six million galons of storage space, from Cheshire East Council in November.
It would then take about a year to get up-and-running.
Mr Brown added: “At the end of the day, the Environment Agency (EA) will constantly monitor us.
“The last thing I want to do is spend all this money for the EA to shut us down for not keeping to regulations, so we’re making absolutely sure. We’ve doubled the size of the biofilter, doubled the number of fans and quadrupled the amount of insulation.”
Opponents say the CRES scheme will generate 80 vehicle movements a day.
But by utilising an underground network of pipes, Mr Brown’s son Adam said that there would be a maximum of 30 movements a day.
Generating electricity from biogas is said to be 45 times cleaner than the current grid average.