'Putrid smell' protest at bid for food waste plant
A HUGE plant for converting food and farming waste into power, planned in the green belt near Keynsham, would cause misery, neighbours have claimed.
People living near the site in Charlton Field Lane say the smells already emanating from the former quarry make them feel sick.
They fear that the proposed anaerobic digester would increase odour, noise and traffic.
But the people behind the application for the biogas plant say the smells would be “negligible” and the development would bring great benefits.
Ward councillors have called for the scheme to be brought before a planning committee at Bath & North East Somerset Council, but a date has not yet been set.
Keynsham’s Councillor Alan Hale, who raised the case at a B&NES Council meeting on October 10, said the development was a “potential disaster” and the whole of southern Keynsham would suffer.
The former quarry opened as a composting site in 2001. Residents said the traffic, noise and smell of that caused them “significant” harm.
Planning permission was granted in 2014 for an anaerobic digester capable of processing 25,000 tonnes of food waste and energy crops each year, but that proposal was not completed after the firm behind it went into administration. The latest scheme is for processing up to 92,000 tonnes of food waste and “energy crops” every year.
The plant would be open daily from 7am and 9pm and up to 58 lorries are expected to go to and from the site each day – equal to one every seven minutes.
Dozens of objections have been lodged on the B&NES Council planning website to the proposal, which has the reference number 19/02919/MINW
One couple who live nearby said in their objection: “The smell two weeks ago was so bad we couldn’t open our windows or doors to sit in the garden.”
A man added: “I cannot stress how awful this smell is – it’s putrid and vile, to the point where it makes you feel nauseous. Friends of mine have even complained of burning eyes and shortness of breath.
“We have gone from having the sweet smell of chocolate and caramel floating across the air to a foul-smelling faeces smell that sticks in the nostrils and throat.”
A woman with a lung condition said the odour had made her “physically sick”.
A consultant representing three of the 30 objectors said the impact will be on a “totally different scale” to the last plans.
He said work on the previous plant had resulted in neighbouring homes frequently being flooded with a “pungent, foul-smelling waste”, and warned that could be exacerbated.
A man who lives downwind of the site, in Bilbie Green, said it would make it extremely difficult to sell property.
Another objector said the smell would be a “constant harassment of the senses” and feared the “juggernauts” would be a “nightmare” on the already congested roads.
He said the facility would be better placed in Avonmouth or Severn Beach as the roads are better suited and emergency services are trained for industrial incidents.
The smaller plant was due to go live in the spring of 2017, but Companies House shows applicant Resourceful Earth Ltd went into administration in October that year. What was built did not match the agreed plans.
The new scheme is from the similarly named Resourceful Earth Anaerobic Limited, which according to Companies House does not share any officers with its near-namesake.
“The site has been used for industrial activity for the past 80 years and is currently occupied by an incomplete anaerobic digestion plant which is in a disused state,” it says.
“The proposals seek to create a high-quality environment, with an orderly, functional character, which enhances the existing degraded quality of the site and provides a safe, attractive environment for those working at the anaerobic digestion plant.
“Once the plant is active as a commercially viable unit, the economic benefits of this will provide for consideration to be given to improving the appearance and function in the old quarry.”
The applicants say the plant will help divert food waste from landfill. It will use energy crops like maize from local farmers, who will in turn be provided with nutrient rich bio-fertiliser, one of the products of the process.
Report by Local Democracy Reporting Services