UK planning inspectorate could approve controversial biogas development in Somerset

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The UK government's planning inspectorate could give the go-ahead to controversial plans for a biogas plant in Keynsham, Somerset, after plans were rejected by the local council, according to the Bristol Post.

Bath and North East Somerset Council (BANES) turned down plans from Resourceful Energy Anaerobic (REA) to build a 92,000 tonne anaerobic digester facility on green belt land in March 2022.

The council's concern was that the project could increase carbon dioxide emissions and send dozens of heavy goods vehicles on ill-equipped roads every day, risking traffic accidents.

The initial plans were met with 847 objections and 10 letters of support. Campaign group Protect our Keynsham Environment has warned the scheme could permanently alter green belt land, create noise and smell and potentially adversely affect residents' health.

A statement from Graham Morris and Jon Hucker, who represent the Stockwood ward at Bristol City Council, said: "We are concerned that air pollution from the digester plant could be impact on Stockwood Ward. In addition, we are concerned about emissions of bioaerosols, which are micro-organisms made up of organic dust, fungal spores and bacteria which can seriously damage human and animal health."

REA has appealed to the planning inspectorate and a public inquiry will begin on 11 October 2022, which could see the plans approved.

The firm has claimed the scheme would save over 6,000 tonnes of CO2 each year - although BANES planning officers observed the 81,000 tonnes of C02 emitted during the plant's construction would take 24 years to offset.

Officers also said that, although the plant would contribute two per cent to the council’s renewable energy target, the proposal would "not save more emissions from renewable energy generation than it creates from its annual operation alone”.

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