Conservatives delighted to see Keynsham food waste plant firmly rejected

Conservative councillors on Bath and North East Somerset Council have praised the decision to dismiss plans to build a food waste processing plant on green belt land near Keynsham.

The plans involved building an anaerobic digester facility at the former Queen Charlton Quarry on Charlton Field Lane.

The plant would process organic materials or ‘feedstocks’ (crops and food waste) to produce biogas to create renewable energy, using 92,000 tonnes of crops and food waste a year.

But the proposals were today unanimously refused by B&NES Council’s Planning Committee, with Conservative councillors describing the decision as “a victory for local people”.

Reacting to the news, Cllr Paul May, B&NES Conservative ward member for Publow and Whitchurch, said: “I congratulate members of the Planning Committee for making the right decision today. Although I support the move towards generating more renewable energy, this site simply is not appropriate for a development of this nature.

“The impact on the local environment would have been severe, with the costs of the facility far outweighing its benefits.

“Local people have done a fantastic job opposing these plans and I have been proud to support them – this is a victory for them.”

Cllr Alan Hale, B&NES Conservative ward member for Keynsham South, said: “These proposals would have been extremely damaging to the local area, and I’m pleased to see them refused.

“This is a green belt site that should be protected. The facility would have seen increased levels of HGV traffic on roads not built to accommodate it, as well as a big increase in noise and smell pollution.

“The applicant, of course, has a right to appeal the decision, but I am confident that the case against this proposal is strong. Well done to everybody who has stood firm and spoken out against this controversial planning application.”

The Conservatives have been opposed to the plans when they were first tabled by Resourceful Energy Anaerobic Ltd (REAL).

Last July, the Conservatives teamed up with local activist group Protect Our Keynsham Environment (POKE) to help oppose the plans.

Kerry Morgan, Chair of POKE, said: “POKE would like to thank councillors on the Planning Committee, the planning case officer, all our supporters and everyone who has contributed to the campaign over the past two years.

“We hope the applicant will choose not to appeal but if they do, we will be ready to give our best case to the Planning Inspector.”