Plaistow biogas farm plans to go before West Sussex County Council

The digester at Crouchlands Farm, Plaistow
The digester at Crouchlands Farm, Plaistow

AFTER months of debate, villagers are anxiously holding their breath to find out what the future will hold for a controversial farm in Plaistow.

West Sussex County Council’s (WSCC) planning committee will discuss on Tuesday, March 3, a planning application submitted by Crouchland Farm in Plaistow, for retrospective planning permission to upgrade an existing anaerobic digestion (AD) facility, installation of a new digestion tank, two new combined heat and power (CHP) engines, a digestate lagoon and associated infrastructure.

While the farm has defended its operations, protesters have fought a long battle against Crouchlands, with many saying it has gone from an ‘on-farm’ anaerobic digestion plant to that of a commercial waste-processing plant.

District councillor Josef Ransley, who represents the Kirdford ward, added: “I hope that given all the apparent abuse of our democratic systems, misleading information, legal wrangling, conflict between local authorities as well as emotional upset this saga has occasioned in our communities, the WSCC councillors determining this application will still be able to discern and apply the basic principles that guide our planning process.”

However, Crouchlands this week gained the backing of Lord Rupert Redesdale, CEO of the Energy Managers Association (EMA).

He said: “Objections about increased lorry loads may be valid in the immediate area, but local access to AD facilities has been shown to reduce overall lorry transportation mileage in surrounding areas as organic waste will need to be transported further.”