A tale of two anaerobic digesters …

Before tonight’s Inside Out programme on BBC1 about anaerobic digesters in Clyst St Mary, it maybe worth pointing out there are TWO of them – one at Enfield Farm at Clyst St Mary off Oil Mill Lane, owned by the people that own Crealy (the Down family) plus one at Hogsbrook near Greendale owned by the Carters.

To make matters more complicated, both were developed by a company called Greener for Life – until they went into administration and were then run by separate companies but with similar directors as Greener for Life. (Keep up there at the back, keep up!).

It’s the Enfield Farm one that is in the news – basically as it was built with double the capacity as specified at the Planning Application stage. (Note to planners: why was this allowed? Where was the Enforcement Officer?).

To restrict additional tractor movements and travelling far distances to obtain feed it’s not allowed to run at 100per cent (again, note to planners, why was this allowed?).

They are appealing against the planning condition at the moment.

Which begs the question: if I got planning permission to build a 2-bed house but built a 4-bed house instead, would planners have agreed – as long as no-one used the two extra bedrooms and we used only two of our cars on the site rather than the 4 we had there?

Allegations about Clyst St Mary anaerobic digester on Inside Out tonight

“Jemma Woodman investigates the green credentials of farm-based power production …”

Tonight BBC1 7.30 pm

Apparently, breaking agreements and not-so-green …

Surprise, surprise … yet again the Carters of Greendale involved! Yet another headache for Environment Portfolio holder Geoff Jung and Leader Ben Ingham.

Just one of many posts by East Devon Watch on this subject:
https://eastdevonwatch.org/2018/07/13/investigation-launched-at-greendale-business-park-by-the-environment-agency/

Local “Experts” win the day in the battle of Woodbury Power Plant (but the war is not yet over)

From a correspondent – as positive as it is, Plutus Energy will almost certainly appeal so we must await a final outcome.

“East Devon District Council has rejected plans for the construction of 20 gas-fired electricity generators on grounds including that the scheme would be “inappropriate development in the open countryside”.

Acting against the recommendation of Planning officer EDDC`s Development Management committee, refused permission for the construction of “20 self-contained natural gas engine driven electricity generators”.

The scheme, proposed by applicant Plutus Energy, would have been built on land close to Woodbury Business Park, Woodbury.

The Key to the decision was Strategy 39 of the council’s local plan, which states the authority’s commitment to promoting the use of renewables and low carbon energy, as grounds for refusing the plans.

The planning report said that the proposed development “would be powered by natural gas and therefore it is important to recognise that this technology is a “facilitator of renewable energy” rather than a renewable technology or low carbon energy project itself and therefore there is little direct policy support within Strategy 39 for this proposal.”

However, it added that “whilst Strategy 39 of the local plan promotes renewable and low carbon energy, it does not in itself provide an “in principle” reason to refuse proposals for fossil fuel energy development.

Therefore, on balance, the Planning Officer considered that the adverse impacts from the scheme would “not significantly or demonstrably outweigh the benefits that would be derived from the scheme which would support the delivery of renewable and low carbon energy by providing back-up generation to help achieve the transition to a sustainable, low carbon future.”

However a team of local residents including an expert from commercial finance, a Professor who is recognised as a world expert of climate change, a solicitor, local councillors, planning experts spoke at the planning meeting with a very detailed forensic exposé of the proposed development that exposed that the far from “facilitating renewable energy it was would block any renewable energy being added to the National Grid, and rather than running at “only a few hours a day in winter time it would actually run over 3000 Hours a year, having a devastating effect on the area.

After a short debate, where the Legal Officer of the council recommended a referral because of the further information the committee voted against the proposal and the Legal Officers recommendation.

A statement from the council said the application had “proved controversial with the local community who raised a number of concerns regarding noise and pollution from the facility, as well as fears that a low carbon energy generation and storage facility was not being proposed, which would be consistent with addressing the climate change emergency declared by the council only a few weeks earlier.”

It added that the committee resolved to refuse the application on the basis that “it would be inappropriate development in the open countryside, with local plan policies only supporting renewable and low carbon energy projects in the open countryside” and a further reason for “related to concerns about the impact of the proposal on air quality in the locality.”

Carters Woodbury power plant refused by EDDC Development Management Committee

Of course, it will be appealed – too much profit (for them, not the village) at stake :

East Devon councillors have rejected plans for a power plant near Exeter.

Plutus Energy Limited had proposed building 20 generators near Woodbury Business Park in a bid to provide additional power to nearby homes and businesses at peak times.

Campaigners against the plans said the system would be extremely harmful to the environment, pumping out 60,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per year.

Before the meeting, Plutus had told the BBC the development was “not a renewable technology, but an essential component in supporting the increase in renewable and low carbon energy”.

About 100 people attended the meeting which saw it turned down.

A planning report recommended approval of the scheme, with conditions. There were also suggestions the decision be deferred for further investigation.

However, councillors said they had heard enough to be concerned the scheme went against the local plan and against the authority’s declared climate emergency.

Ten councillors refused it, while three voted for a deferral.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-england-devon-49494877?

More desecration of agricultural land by the Carters in Woodbury despite more than 100 objections

As earlier application reported here:

… “£4.46 million a year from the 1.7 acre site – better than storing caravans or rearing cattle. Its a pity none of the money goes to the actual residents of Woodbury, or the wider community, who have to live with the noise and pollution.”

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2019/05/02/the-woodbury-power-plant-a-nice-little-earner/

The application:

“An application to install 20 self-contained generators on land south of Woodbury Business Park could be given the go-ahead next week.

On Tuesday (September 3) East Devon District Council’s development management committee is set to discuss the proposal submitted on behalf of Plutus Energy Ltd.

If committee members approve of the application, which has had more than 100 objections, 20 natural gas engine driven electricity generators will be installed on storage land near a substation in Woodbury.

In a report to the committee, planning officers have recommended approval, despite the application falling outside the East Devon Local Plan.

The planning officer’s report said that while the proposal is a ‘departure’ from the local plan, there is support within the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

The report said: “On balance it is considered that the adverse impacts from the proposed gas fuelled standby electricity plant do not significantly or demonstrably outweigh the benefits that would be derived from the scheme.

“Accordingly it is recommended that permission be granted subject to the conditions set out.”

If given the go-ahead, the generators would provide an additional 40 megawatts of energy to the National Grid at peak times for the next 25 years.

The existing access to the site would be retained and the equipment will only be operated between 7am and 10.30pm.

Each generator will be housed within an acoustically insulated weather-proof steel container.

Strategy 39 of the East Devon Local Plan says renewable or low-carbon energy products will, in principle, be supported and encouraged.

The officer’s report said the local plan does not provide a principle reason to refuse proposals for fossil fuel energy and the NPPF supports the transition from fossil fuels.

The report added: “While the proposal is not a renewable energy source itself, as identified above it clearly encourages and supports the use of renewable energy generation by supporting the transition from fossil fuels.

“It achieves this by being a back-up to energy supply at times when the renewable energy struggles to meet demand.”

The development management committee meeting will discuss the application at Blackdown House, in Honiton, from 10am.

https://www.exmouthjournal.co.uk/news/woodbury-gas-power-plant-recommended-for-approval-1-6242265

A poignant planning application on the 75th anniversary of D-Day (and enthusiastically supported by Clinton Devon Estates)

Brandy Head is a promontory about 1½ miles SSE of Otterton.

In 1940 the RAF opened a gunnery research range here for ground attack fighters. An observation post was built on Brandy Head with blast walls at the rear and a viewing balcony looking seaward. Targets were floated offshore and aircraft such as Typhoons, Hurricanes and Spitfires from 10 Group RAF would fly from Exeter to test turret mounted guns, wing-mounted cannons and later rockets by flying over the observation post to attack the targets anchored at sea.

The utilitarian observation post still stands as a shell, having lost its roof, alongside the Coastal Path only yards from the cliff edge. It is often used by walkers as a place for a coffee break.

The new tenant farmer at Stantyways Farm has recently submitted a planning application 19/0883 to convert the observation post to holiday accommodation.

This raises an interesting debate: is this an example of imaginative re-purposing of a derelict land mark which will ensure its future; should the observation post be left alone to stand as a simple epitaph; or is it the start of a new camping site to rival Ladram Bay and Devon Cliffs on either side?

Owl has noted this passage from the Design and Access Statement supporting the application:

“Clinton Devon Estates have offered Mr and Mrs Walker their support and have stated:

“Clinton Devon Estates recently let Stantyway Farm to Mr and Mrs Walker, we are encouraged by their plans to farm organically and sustainably. Their tender included a wish to convert the lookout into visitor accommodation to make the most of the South West Coast path tourism and we support this diversification and use of the redundant building.

It is essential that the eco-sustainability side is expressed and access is by foot.”

Owl personally just wouldn’t perch overnight that close to the cliff edge!

Perhaps it also needs Listed Building or Heritage Building status?