Councillors team up with activists to oppose waste processor plans

Councillors and activists have come together to oppose plans to build a new food waste processing plant on green belt land near Keynsham.

Cllr Alan Hale and Cllr Lisa O’Brien, Bath and North East Somerset Council’s Conservative ward councillors for Keynsham South, have teamed up with local activist group POKE (Protect our Keynsham Environment) to help see off the controversial proposals.

The plans involve building an Anaerobic Digester Plant at the former Queen Charlton Quarry, Charlton Field Lane.

The Anaerobic Digestion facility processes organic materials or ‘feedstocks’ (crops and food waste) to produce biogas to create renewable energy. If approved, the plant will process 92,000 tonnes of crops and food waste a year.

Objections to the proposals include the detrimental effects the plant will have on the local community through an increase in HGV traffic, noise and odour pollution. The application also poses a threat the green belt.

Cllr Alan Hale said: “I applaud the desire to create more renewable energy but I do not believe it should come at the expense of the local community in Keynsham and in nearby wards. This is green belt land that should be protected from this sort of development.

“I’m delighted to team up with POKE on this issue as it shows that ward councillors and residents are united in their objections to these plans.”

Cllr Lisa O’Brien said: “POKE have done excellent work to raise awareness of these potentially damaging proposals locally, and it’s a pleasure to work with them going forward.

“This is not the right location for a building of this nature and I implore the Council to think of local residents and make the right decision when, eventually, a decision is to be made.”

Kerry Morgan, Chair of Protect Our Keynsham Environment (POKE), said: “We’ve looked in detail at the plans for where the waste to feed this giant digester will travel from and we do not believe this will reduce our carbon footprint. Instead, we will be blighted by more lorries on our roads and higher levels of noise and odour pollution.

“We all want sustainable and renewable energy, but this controversial plan isn’t the answer. These plans will change our area forever and we need to stand firm against them.”

The application will be brought before the Council’s Planning Committee in due course.