Letter: Biogas generator – let's consider the facts

March 03 2021

During last spring’s lockdown, one of the early-morning joys of my daily exercise was cycling to the top of Charlton Road to Charlton fields, birdwatching.

I observed whitethroat, linnet, skylark, goldfinch, kestrel, and even roe deer barking. Charlton fields is a great place for wildlife, all within 500 metres of the site of the proposed biogas generator, much of which is already in place.

These anaerobic digesters have few moving parts, release little smell or noise, and generate renewable electricity and methane gas for the national grid from domestic and agricultural organic waste.

Globally, they are important in mitigating the potentially disastrous effects of climate change caused by the continued burning of fossil fuels.

I have spent much of my professional life teaching secondary school pupils about the importance of sustainable, renewable energy resources, including wind turbines, solar energy and biogas generators.

Therefore, I am delighted that Resourceful Energy Anaerobic Ltd (REAL) has submitted new plans to produce biogas on an industrial scale near Keynsham.

I sincerely hope that BANES council sees the bigger picture and takes the wise, long-term view that such a resource would be as useful and indispensable a local facility as Saltford sewage works and Pixash Lane recycling centre, and a positive example for the rest of the country to follow.

I’m dismayed that there seems to be a vocal outcry against the installation, and I understand some of the concerns, not least the increase in heavy lorries using Woollard Lane and the top of Charlton Road.

However, these lorries would not be allowed to come through Keynsham, and 10,000 lorries per year works out at about 30 lorries per day in and out – a tiny fraction of the daily traffic along Keynsham by-pass.

So, I would urge every Keynsham resident to research the facts about biogas generators and vote to support the planning application via the consultation on the BANES website.

Contrary to what I have read in the local press, I do not believe a biogas generator would “have a huge impact on the quality of life” (except a positive one in that it would reduce our consumption of fossil fuels) and I am sure I would be able to continue to enjoy my cycle ride and wildlife watching in the scrub on the other side of Charlton Field Lane for many years to come (especially if REAL acts on its pledge to improve the local natural environment).

Neither should it be viewed as “a dumping ground for BANES waste”, but an essential facility for the benefit of all.

To me, the presence of a biogas generator would be as sweet as the smell of chocolate from our former factory – itself one of the town’s biggest producers of greenhouse gases in the past!

Dave Sage

Keynsham resident (concerned about the future of planet earth)