Bid to use animal waste in Scottish AD plant rejected

A bid to use animal waste to feed a new anaerobic digestion (AD) facility in East Lothian, Scotland, has been rejected.

The developers of the planned AD plant at Bangley Quarry, north of Haddington, applied to have a condition barring them from using animal by-products (ABPs), including chicken litter, farm manure and cattle slurry, lifted, after being approached by local farmers.

At a virtual meeting of East Lothian’s planning committee on 15 March, concerns were raised over the plans for the facility, which saw construction stall during the pandemic, East Lothian Courier reported.

Permission was granted for the AD facility in February 2018 and work has begun on the foundations. The applicant, Green Forty Development, had applied to vary two planning conditions to allow them to increase the capacity of the plant and allow for the transport of animal waste for use in the digester.

Green Forty Development had asked that the capacity be increased to 100,000 tonnes, up from the originally planned 77,500 tonnes, to accommodate the use of ABPs. Although construction of the plant had been delayed, it is expected to be operational by the end of the year.

According to East Lothian Council, 15 objections were received, highlighting concerns about an increase in large vehicle traffic and potential “bad smells” from the plant and by vehicles transporting the animal by-products. No objections were raised by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency or the council’s biodiversity, public health or roads officers. Following a debate, committee members voted to refuse permission by five votes to four.

Committee member Councillor Sue Kempson questioned claims that the ABPs would come from local farms, after being told that one named supplier was based in Midlothian, the East Lothian Courier reported. Kempson told the committee it was being “subjected to a lot of greenwash”.

One objector told the committee: “Animal by-products are toxic waste and should never be transported but should be dealt with in situ.” Another accused the developer of “playing the system”.

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