THE Environment Agency has this afternoon, Tuesday, announced it has refused an application from a  farmer to build an anaerobic digester plant in Twemlow.

Ray Brown, of Orchards Farm, submitted the application to in 2012 but faced immediate opposition from residents.

On Tuesday, July 8, an Environment Agency Spokesperson said: “We can confirm that, following consideration, we have taken the decision to refuse an application for an environmental permit at a site in Twemlow, Holmes Chapel, submitted by Cres Biogas Limited.

“This decision was taken on the basis that the odour management plan submitted with the application, along with subsequent versions, have not satisfied the Environment Agency that this facility will be able to control odour emissions.”

TAG (Twemlow and Goostrey no to waste plant) said it believed that the proposed site was too close to homes, immediately adjacent to housing, and that any smells emanating from the plant and the large amounts of traffic involved would have had a huge impact on the community.

TAG’s chairman Kit Tomkinson said, “We are relieved that the EA has recognised that the Twemlow site is the wrong location for an industrial AD plant; it would have been immediately adjacent to housing, with 40 homes within 200 metres of its boundary.

"The failed Odour Management Plan would have been a key component of the Environment Impact Assessment, which the Government instructed Cheshire East Council to obtain from the applicant last year.

"The stalled planning application, to which objections had been made by more than 600 people, is therefore now effectively dead.

“This decision shows that the Government should require the EA to set a minimum distance from housing for all large AD plants – as well as the 200 metre exclusion zone from the homes it requires for small scale on-farm plants.

"Accidents can and do happen – as experienced at the AD plant at Harper Adams Agricultural University twice in the last 18 months – and as residents living near other large scale plants have found to their cost there is a high odour potential associated with rotting food waste and farm slurries.

“If a minimum distance policy had been applied, large amounts of time and public money would not have been wasted by Government agencies and local authorities in considering inappropriate sites such as this one in Twemlow, which has been under close scrutiny for more than two years.”

TAG added it was grateful to all the residents that opposed the application.