MP Steve Barclay launches petitions both for and against Chatteris anaerobic digestion plant to gauge public opinion

16:23 17 April 2014

MP Steve Barclay

MP Steve Barclay

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An MP has taken the unusual step of launching a petition for and against the same thing.

North East Cambs MP Steve Barclay has set up petitions both in favour and opposing plans for an anaerobic digestion plant in Chatteris.

Pretoria Energy’s initial application for the plant, which would turn maize into renewable energy, on land east of Greys Farm in Iretons Way, Chatteris, was refused by Fenland District Council in February.

The company has submitted a fresh set of plans for the development - these involve building four primary digester tanks measuring 22.4m by 8.4m, eight storage tanks, three secondary digester tanks measuring 33.9m by 12.8m, a digestate tank measuring 36.7m by 12.8m and a gas scrub unit with chimneys 11.5m high.

They also want to build a new weighbridge near to the plant for vehicles to use.

Mr Barclay says rival petitions are a good way to gauge public opinion on the plans.

He said: “The people who have been in touch have been both for and against the development, with people raising concerns about the traffic it will generate and the problems associated with heavy tractors and trailers on the narrow Fen roads.

“There are also concerns about potential smell pollution from the plant and also the loss of grade one agricultural land for the production of maize to fuel the plant.

“I am also personally concerned about the close proximity of such a facility to a Site of Special Scientific Interest and what impact it might have on the Ouse Washes.

“On the pro side people are in favour of the application because it will be producing renewable energy, coupled with the green aspects that entails.

“It is an issue I am keen to hear local people’s views on and so I have launched two petitions to run side by side, one in favour of the application and the other opposed to it, so I can gauge the strength of feeling on both sides.”

An open meeting will be held to discuss the application at the King Edward Centre in Chatteris on May 3 from 10am-noon.

The target determination date for the application is May 28. You can access the petition at stevebarclay.net

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