Anger over plans for food-powered renewable energy plant

Wardley Disposal Point, Follingsby Lane
Wardley Disposal Point, Follingsby Lane
Have your say

WORRIED residents have raised concerns over plans for a new renewable energy plant on their doorsteps.

Planning officers are being asked to consider an application for an anaerobic digestion facility at Wardley Disposal Point in Follingsby Lane, West Boldon.

The plant would take food waste and use it to produce electricity on the site to supply the National Grid.

The application is for a waste reception building and a number of digestion tanks and storage tanks, and comes from London-based Tamar Energy – which is planning to build 44 similar facilities across the country – with the aim of producing enough energy to power 200,000 homes within five to seven years.

But residents have hit out, with 15 of them signing a petition expressing concern at the “impact of the proposal on the local environment, especially the potential for the generation of noise, dust and offensive odours”.

When South Tyneside Council’s planning committee meets on Monday, it will be recommended to indicate that it is “minded to grant” planning permission – subject to a series of conditions being agreed and the completion of a legal agreement.

Anaerobic digestion is a series of natural biological processes whereby organic waste material is broken down by micro-organisms and converted into biogas – a mixture of carbon dioxide and methane. The gas is then used to power a combined heat and power plant and electricity injected into the National Grid.

The facility would operate 24 hours a day for seven days a week, and waste food is collected and shredded in concrete tanks.

Concerned resident Shirelle Quinn, 39, of nearby Follingsby Terrace, said: “We are worried about the noise. It will be a massive site and there will be a big increase in traffic with the wagons they will be using. This is a green belt area.

“Another concern is the effect it will have on the value of properties.

“There are people who have lived here for 40 years.

“There is one man who bought a house here quite recently and he is very worried about how much this plant will take off his property value.”

Resident Wendy Keenlyside, 62, added: “I will be speaking at the planning meeting next week to voice some of the concerns.

“We are very concerned about what kind of smells will be coming from the plant. We have to speak out now before it is up and running.”

A report to the committee says: “Environmental issues and controls are similar to those required for any waste transfer or processing site. The operation requires an environmental permit from the Environment Agency.

“Matters such as flies, litter, noise, odour and emissions should all be controlled by conditions attached to this permit.”

The report says there is a recognised need for the facility and that the nearest residential properties are 600 metres away.

It adds: “The overall proposal would be a sustainable form of development.”