Environment Agency launches proceedings against Plaistow farm

Residents protesting outside Crouchlands Biogas Ltd in Plaistow. They are against expansion of the farm -  picture submitted SUS-140210-162931001
Residents protesting outside Crouchlands Biogas Ltd in Plaistow. They are against expansion of the farm - picture submitted SUS-140210-162931001

THE Environment Agency has launched enforcement proceedings against a farm which has been the source of controversial energy production.

Crouchland Biogas, based at Crouchland Farm in Plaistow, has submitted retrospective planning permission to upgrade its facilities using animal manure to turn into gas for energy.

It has caused concern among residents in the area as HGVs travel to and from the farm on the narrow country roads.

In the most recent turn of events, the company is now being investigated by the Environment Agency.

A spokesman said: “We have received many complaints about activities based at the farm and we are carrying out a full investigation.

“In the meantime, we are still visiting the site to monitor environmental performance and ensure the businesses based there comply with the law.”

Managing director of Crouchlands Biogas Leon Makitarian said: “Crouchland Farm awaits any guidance the Environment Agency provides as a result of its recent enquiry.

“We operate a well-established and busy dairy farm, and have always worked hard to ensure our farm complies with all relevant recommendations and regulations.”

The retrospective planning application was submitted in July 2014 and is expected to be discussed at February’s West Sussex County Council planning committee.

Plaistow and Ifold Parish Council is among those who have lobbied to stall the plan.

Councillor Stuart East said: “The parish council is extremely concerned that, despite the site and 
its operator being under intense scrutiny, they are still showing a complete disregard for the local environment which has resulted in more enforcement action being taken against them by the Environment Agency.”

Cllr East added he hoped the county council would take ‘positive action’ to protect the environment and the parish.