Appeal launched for Ramsbottom energy plant

Manufacturer Marshalls and Peel Environmental have submitted an appeal against Bury Council's decision to refuse plans for an anaerobic digestion plant at Fletcher Bank quarry.

The initial application for the digestion plant, which generates renewable electricity from organic feedstock, was submitted in January this year. Bury Council rejected the proposals in March.

The appeal means that an independent inspector will be appointed to review the council's decision and decide whether it should be upheld. Although the format and date for an appeal has not been set, a decision is expected to be taken by the planning inspectorate after a public inquiry in early 2015.

Fletcher Bank is a hard rock quarry which provides mineral products as well as the on-site manufacturing of construction and landscaping materials.

Marshalls and Peel Environmental proposed to build the plant next to the existing concrete production factory at Fletcher Bank. Surplus electricity would be connected to the national grid and biofertiliser would be produced for use in the farming industry.

According to council documents, the application was refused as the scheme "would constitute inappropriate development within the Green Belt… very special circumstances have not been demonstrated to outweigh the in-principle harm". The conditions for refusal also said that "the proposed development is likely to result in a severely detrimental impact on the residential amenity of nearby sensitive receptors as a result of odours".

More than 1,500 representations against the development were received from neighbours of the site.

Kieran Tames, development surveyor at Peel Environmental, said: "We were disappointed that our application was refused earlier this year as it was recommended for approval by council officers and would deliver many different benefits.

"As well as providing a renewable energy source for the concrete production factory at the quarry, the 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 £10m investment in the area."

A Bury Council spokesman said: "The planning control committee voted in March to refuse a planning application for an anaerobic digestion plant at Fletcher Bank Works in Ramsbottom.

"The council is aware that an appeal has been lodged against this decision, which means that a public inquiry into the matter will be held. The council intends to be represented at that inquiry, whenever it takes place."

Marshalls currently employs more than 120 staff at Fletcher Bank Quarry.

SLR Consulting advised on the application.

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