Plant must not impact on birds

East Cambs District Council

East Cambs District Council - Credit: Archant

Plans for a straw processing plant on the outskirts of Ely could get the go-ahead as long as measures can be used to protect ‘sensitive bird species’.

East Cambridgeshire District Council’s planning committee is set to allow the final decision on an application by Simon Barnard for the proposed pellet production plant on land southwest of the Potter Group, Queen Adelaide Way, to be made by officers.

A report to next week’s meeting recommends delegation of approval to the planning manager, subject to further investigation of the impacts on booming bittern and a host of conditions.

The purpose of the facility is to process straw from local sources and turn it into pellets to be transported by rail for use as fuel to generate renewable energy.

The main straw processing will take place in an industrial building, there will be two pellet storage silos and a separate rail loading silo and housing will be located over the existing rail siding.

Councillor Bill Hunt asked for the plans to be ‘called in’ to the planning committee because of “grave concerns”.

He is worried about the estimated 30,000 additional lorry movements into and out of the site annually. He said: “The required consultation should be as wide as the effects of this application are to be felt. The application talks of a 50 mile radius.”

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Cambridgeshire Wildlife Trust said predicted noise is only just below the acceptable level and will only withdraw objections if “sensitive bird species” are protected.