Hundreds of Holderness residents protest against energy plans that will 'blot lives' of villagers
PROTEST: Holderness residents say plans for Yarrows Aggregates biogas plant will 'blot lives' of villagers
By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 7 Mar 2017
Residents in Holderness fear an anaerobic digestion plant "will be a blot on the lives" of nearby villagers.
Yarrows Aggregates has submitted plans to develop land south of Leven and Catwick into an energy-generating plant to East Riding Council.
But the chairman of the Communities Against Digester group, David Gillyon-Powell, said plans for the 5.4 megawatt plant are a real concern for residents.
Anaerobic digestion (AD) plants produce biogas, an environmentally-friendly energy source, by breaking down organic material. But Mr Gillyon-Powell said the plans were misleading in their green agenda.
He said: "Farmers in the area do own their own anaerobic digestion plants and they use their own waste and it powers their own machinery.
"But this isn't a small-scale plant, and it's going to need to have the waste transported to it. The problem with these things is once the process starts you can't stop it, you have to keep feeding it. And if there isn't enough chicken waste or straw to feed it you have to give it other things.
"It's also not a straightforward recycling model like what the farmers use: the owner wants to use this digester to produce energy to feed into the national grid to make a profit. It's a commercial enterprise."
Mr Gillyon-Powell said opposition to the plans in the village was enormous, with more than 200 residents turning out to a meeting last week. It is the third time an application to build increasingly large anaerobic digesters on the land has been submitted.
He said: "One of the other issues raised is this isn't a small plant – it's going to be several 13m to 15m high structures, which is the same size as three buses on top of each other. It's going to blot out the landscape.
"And what a lot of people don't realise is this was land originally signposted to be used to extract gravel, but always with the caveat it would be returned to greenfield land after that licence expired in 2024/25. Obviously this plant would be going for a lot longer."
He said there were also concerns about the smell, noise, and the pollution the plant would produce – just a few hundred metres from the nearest housing, in "close proximity" to a petrol station, and not far from a school.
He said: "It will be using waste products, and of course they give up their own toxic fumes. There may be cleaning processes as part of the plan but these have not always worked, and there is a potential for the toxic gases and products to leak out into the surrounding areas
Last month, Yarrow Aggregates owner John Bird said residents' fears were "misplaced". He said: "Those opposed to it need to visit an operating anaerobic digestion plant, then they'll understand what it's all about.
"What you have to remember is we've got so many in the area now. They're all over Europe and there's 5,000 in Germany, what's the problem?
"I just don't understand what the issue is. If people don't get their electricity or their gas they won't be happy."