Objections mount up to straw pellet plant near Ely

The proposed straw pelleting plant.

The proposed straw pelleting plant. - Credit: Archant

Opposition to a proposed straw-pelleting plant in Queen Adelaide is continuing to build – with noise pollution and harm to wildlife chief among the concerns.

Plans were submitted for the plant late last month by Pelco and could see thousands of tonnes of straw converted into fuel for homes and businesses.

Pelco applied to the district council the build the plant in Queen Adelaide, near the Potter Group facility.

The company says that, over the course of a year, the plant will process around 150,000 tonnes of wheat and oil seed rape straw gathered from farms within a 50-mile radius.

Baled straw would be delivered by road from farms, before being converted into pellets and transported by rail to renewable energy plants across the region.

Councillor Bill Hunt was among those to raise concerns about the proposed plant and requested for it to be called-in to the district council’s planning committee.

He said: “If I assume that a lorry or trailer load of wheat or rapeseed straw is about 10 tons, it indicates that there will be 15,000 inward traffic movements into this proposed plants every year.”

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And Cllr Hunt’s concerns were shared by neighbours of the facility, who raised queries over pollution.

Frank Richards, of Ely, told the council: “We already have a straw burning plant at Sutton so there will be competition for straw within the area that may not be sufficient for both plants.

“This could lead to straw being transported over greater distances that envisaged by the applicants.”

Alayne Seymour, commodore of Ely Sailing Club, said: “I would like to express concern over the potential noise pollution from the proposed production plant. Will there be any smell or airborne particles?”

And Alex Scott, from Ely, said: “An increase in vehicles accessing the site would add to air-born pollution which would impact on vegetation and other wildlife. Disturbance levels could also have a negative impact on the natural amenity.”

The Environment Agency and Historic England raised no specific objections to the plans, while the City of Ely Council called for lorries to be banned from driving through the centre of Queen Adelaide.

A decision on the plans is expected within the next eight weeks. To view the plans, or to have a say, visit www.eastcambs.gov.uk