Tamar Energy plan to dump AD Plant waste into local sewers

RAWS Committee Members and Residents with Cllr Ian Bevan

RAWS Committee Members and Residents with Cllr Ian Bevan

Over the Christmas period, Peel and Marshalls released proposed amendments to their planning application for an AD Waste Plant in Ramsbottom. The changes are detailed in an addendum Environmental Impact Assessment of December 2014 which is 129 pages long.

They have proposed some changes to the plant, which will be operated by Tamar Energy, largely changing the nature of the products to be produced and exported from the site.

Peel and Marshalls would like the changes to be considered at the forthcoming planning appeal in March and I strongly object to the same. It represents a significant change to the original planning application.  In my opinion, only the original application should be considered at the inquiry.

The new plant design is to produce 8,000 tonnes of dry ‘digestate’ from the food waste and put the remaining 30,000 tonnes (30 million litres) of liquid ‘digestate’ into the local sewers.

Digestate is the waste product from the AD process – 45,000 tonnes of food waste goes in for treatment per annum. Water is added during the process. 38,000 tonnes of liquid digestate waste comes out after processing.   The gas produced in the process is burned to produce heat and electricity.

The original planning application involved removing the 38,000 tonnes of digestate by tanker (approximately 8,000 tonnes of solid fibres plus 30,000 tonnes (30 million litres) of liquid waste). So instead of taking 38,000 tonnes of digestate off site in tankers, they are now proposing to separate the liquid waste and put it down the local sewers. A sewer connection would now be required to dispose of the waste liquids which would require Trade Effluent Consent from United Utilities.

I understand that the digestate has a high odour content (ammonia, sulphur) and that this is the equivalent of new sewage from 1,000 new houses per annum ending up in the local sewers in Shuttleworth and Ramsbottom. This is totally unacceptable.

Tamar Energy will then take the 8,000 tonnes dry digestate off site (which will require solids handling, hence the change to the plant design to separate the liquid from the solid) and to allow more lorries in and out of the plant.

To accommodate this, it is proposed that the plant will have 9 roller front doors instead of the original 2 doors, creating a significant risk of additional noise and pollution emissions. It is also assumed that the four larger roller shutter doors on the western elevation of the Process Building, that access the reception hall, would remain open at all times. These however were supposed to be closed at all times to avoid odour emissions.

The number of external tanks has therefore increased from 10 to 18. There is an additional water treatment building to be included on site. There will be a further three ground level pumps in the digester tank compound to account for additional movement of slurry and digestate between tanks.

In the original application odour control processes were to take place within the Process Building. In the revised layout a separate Odour Control Building located to the south-west of the Process Building has been included.

I have urged the Planning Inspector to reject the request to amend the planning application at the appeal and I will be making strong representations to the Planning Inspector when he visits Bury in March 2015 to conduct his inquiry into the proposed AD plant in Ramsbottom. I truly hope that he upholds the decision of the planning committee on Bury Council to refuse permission on the basis that the development was inappropriate in the Green Belt.

I will continue to keep you updated with developments but please feel free to let me have your comments.