Fighting fund for Keynsham biogas plant battle
CAMPAIGNERS against plans for a biogas plant on the outskirts of Keynsham have launched a fighting fund.
The proposed anaerobic digester facility was unanimously rejected by Bath and North East Somerset Council (B&NES) planning committee in March.
But developer Resourceful Energy Anaerobic Limited (REAL) says it intends to appeal against the refusal for the scheme, which would turn food waste into energy.
Now Protect Our Keynsham Environment (POKE), which ran a successful campaign against the proposals, is trying to raise money to continue its battle.
POKE spokeswoman Kerry Morgan said: “Our community must now prepare for a likely planning inquiry and once again we need professional help.
“This costs thousands of pounds but is very important to ensure we keep having a really effective voice.
“This is a critical time for local communities, for if we lose the appeal, the super-sized anaerobic digester facility will be built, and our town and surrounding villages will change forever. Now is the key time to stop the developer once and for all.
“We urgently need the public’s help to raise a £20,000 fighting fund.
“We want the planning inspector to know just how strongly local people feel about this.”
More than 800 objections have been raised to the scheme at the former Queen Charlton Quarry site.
People have expressed concerns about increased noise, pollution, smell, poor health and a massive increase in HGV journeys to bring in waste from across England and Wales.
Developer REAL wants the appeal to be determined under the public inquiry process - a formal procedure that could last 12 days - where those giving evidence can be cross-examined by barristers.
POKE is asking for an informal hearing, where evidence is discussed before an inspector and parties are not cross-examined. This is less expensive, but POKE says it seems likely that the Planning Inspectorate will grant a public inquiry.
Kerry Morgan continued: “Our fighting fund will be vital, for we need to employ expert professional witnesses and planning consultants, and commission special reports to be presented and examined in front of the planning inspector.
“We totally depend on the public’s financial support, while the developer has millions. Victory is within our grasp, but we still need the generous financial support of local people determined to protect our environment and green belt.
“B&NES will fight the appeal, arguing there were good grounds for refusing planning permission. We support the council and will work with them to complement their case.”
David Worskett, Avon and Bristol chair of countryside charity, said: “I am confident this huge and unwelcome plant inside the precious green belt and Keynsham’s doorstep can be stopped, and the objectors have CPRE Avon and Bristol’s full backing.”
For more information about POKE and its fighting fund, go to protectourkeynshamenvironment.wordpress.com or search for Protect Our Keynsham Environment on Facebook.