Plans for biogas power plant in Lincolnshire Wolds could be put on hold
Plans for a biogas power plant in the Lincolnshire Wolds could be stopped in its tracks for the second time.
Bashfarms Ltd wants to build a combined heat and power generator at Clapgate Farm, in Ashby Puerorum near Horncastle.
But planners at Lincolnshire County Council have recommended that it is refused permission.
Bashfarms submitted the revised proposals following a failed application in October.
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A council report states: "The landscape and visual impact assessment does not satisfactorily demonstrate that the size, scale and siting of the development would not harm the scenic beauty of this area of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
"On balance, the proposed development is not considered to be appropriate."
The 500KW anaerobic digestion plant would generate 4,075MWh of electricity each year and 3,280MWh of surplus heat. The electricity would supply all of the farm's needs – around 35MWh a year – and the remainder would go into the National Grid.
Around 9,500 tonnes of by-product material would also be produced to fertilise fields.
The plant would create the electricity using gas created by fermenting crops and biological waste. Pig slurry, poultry manure, silage and oilseed rape would all be used.
But planning officers say the project does not show the "exceptional circumstances" required for major developments in areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONB).
A council report has been prepared ahead of a meeting on Monday, January 7.
Bashfarms Ltd argues the power provided by the plant is needed to ensure the business remains a viable operation and to provide an electricity supply for future developments at the farm. The company also says the nation's need to meet renewable energy targets contributes to the exceptional circumstances of the case.
However, council planning officers say it has not been proven the plant could not be placed outside the AONB.
The report also says the plans do not meet the requirements of the Lincolnshire Wolds AONB Management Plan.
This states low-carbon schemes should be encouraged if they are "conducive to the requirements of the AONB designation" and "complement local landscape character".
In reports submitted by the farm, it is claimed the development "would not introduce uncharacteristic features into the receiving landscape".
But it concedes there would be a "negative minor effect" in the first few years after the plant was built.
The report states additional screening hedges would not be "characteristic of the landscape" and would appear "at odds" with the surrounding area.