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End in sight for Ramsbottom energy row

PUBLISHED: 12:01 14 January 2015 | UPDATED: 17:23 11 April 2016

The town centre is decorated with posters opposing the plan. The proposed site for the plant is on the hillside in the background

The town centre is decorated with posters opposing the plan. The proposed site for the plant is on the hillside in the background

Archant

Plans to build anaerobic digester go to appeal

Cllr Rob Hodkinson is among those opposing the AD scheme Cllr Rob Hodkinson is among those opposing the AD scheme

On one of the hills overlooking Ramsbottom stands the UK’s largest on-shore windfarm, a series of turbines which reach 100m above the moors and are a striking example of green energy production.

With oil and gas prices rising there have been many warnings of an impending energy crisis and calls for more to be done to ensure the lights don’t go out.

But a scheme for a renewable energy plant in the hills near Ramsbottom has been met with resistance by locals who say the anaerobic digester’s green credentials are outweighed by the negative impact it could have on the town.

The plant would convert biodegradable waste into electricity which renewable energy firm Tamar Energy and Peel – also the company behind the windfarm – say would prevent thousands of tonnes of food waste going into landfill sites and could power 3,500 homes.

The proposal was turned down by Bury Council last year but the companies behind the scheme appealed and a final decision is now expected after a four-day public inquiry which will be held in Bury in March.

Cllr Rob Hodkinson can see the site of the proposed plant at Fletcher Bank Quarry from the door of his clothing shop, Murray’s, on Bridge Street. He said: ‘I have nothing against environmentally-friendly energy production but it has to be in the right place, not on the doorstep of a thriving town and tourism area.

‘If it goes ahead this scheme could produce smells and extra traffic through and around the town – that would all have a negative impact on the town and potentially on house prices as well. I’m sure it will be turned down.’

But Kieran Tames, Development Surveyor at Peel Environmental, said: ‘As well as providing a renewable energy source for the concrete production factory at the quarry, the AD plant would divert large amounts of food waste from landfill, produce bio-fertiliser and create new jobs through construction and operation. The proposal helps to safeguard the future of the factory and is a £10 million investment in the area.

‘To address concerns about impacts on local amenities, the proposals include strict odour control measures which would be closely monitored by the Environment Agency to ensure local residents are not affected. There would also be fewer vehicle movements than the open composting scheme already approved for the site – a scheme which would not go ahead if the AD plant is built.’

The public inquiry will begin at Bury Town Hall on March 10th.

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