Fears over controversial ‘industrial plant’ at Plaistow farm

Residents protesting outside Crouchlands Biogas Ltd in Plaistow. They are against expansion of the farm
Residents protesting outside Crouchlands Biogas Ltd in Plaistow. They are against expansion of the farm

FEARS have been voiced over a controversial plan which they claim could turn a small farm near Plaistow into an ‘industrial plant’.

Villagers of Kirdford, Plaistow and Ifold are campaigning against Crouchlands Biogas’s plan to extend current permission from Chichester District Council (CDC) which allows for an on-farm bio digester plant to convert animal waste into electricity.

On Tuesday, February 3, a West Sussex County Council (WSCC) planning committee in Horsham will consider retrospective plans for the upgraded facility, which now brings 34,755 tonnes of commercial waste to the site each year.

This produces biomethane gas to turn into electricity for the national grid.

It roughly triples the capacity of the equipment approved six years ago by the district council and led to CDC and WSCC to serve enforcement notices for breaches of planning law.

Officers have recommended approval of the application, but residents said the report was flawed.

Objections have been raised by Kirdford Parish Council and more than 400 others, with concerns about the adverse impact on the rural area, increased traffic and the noise and working hours of the plant.

The Protect Our Rural Environment group (PORE) has collected around 900 signatures for a petition against the plans.

Ben Wibaut lives in Foxbridge Lane, which is directly affected by the site.

He said: “WSCC’s recommendation is for a massive industrial plant with a capacity of at least three times this.

“The biogas site is fed by narrow lanes completely unsuitable for the unrelenting barrage of HGV lorries to and from the site.”