We are pleased to report that we have secured planning permission for three micro anaerobic digestion plants in December 2016, two in Cheshire and one in Shropshire. It was confirmed at the start of December 2016 that the tariffs payable under the renewable heat incentive scheme will reduce in 2017 therefore there was a rush of applications to beat the deadline. All three plants are for on farm processing and utilise slurry produced from dairy herds and will generate all the heat and electricity required on the farms in the future.
The systems burn methane extracted from the cattle slurry to run a generator producing the heat and electricity, all three farms will no longer buy in electricity from the national grid. The surplus will be exported to the national grid with each installation providing sufficient electricity to power approximately 20 homes. In addition to reducing the reliance on fossil fuels the systems significantly reduce the output of methane to the atmosphere and reduce the run off of nitrogen to watercourses. The systems therefore provide significant benefits to the environment as well as the farmers who are installing them.
Agricultural permitted development rights
All three systems have been granted permission using the General Permitted Development Order 2015 (as amended), where it can be demonstrated that development complies with the order planning permission is granted under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Certain parts of the order including agricultural permitted development rights are subject to a prior notification procedure where the Local Planning Authority assess the notification and can request prior approval of certain matters. The order is very specific in terms of dimension criteria but can also be very subjective in the interpretation of other parts and must be carefully prepared to ensure that they are successful.
Full Planning Permission
If the anaerobic digestion plants are intended to import waste to the farm for processing (i.e. not just use material produced on the farm) then they require full planning permission and cannot be undertake via permitted development. One of the systems approved was on a farm that had previously proposed a large anaerobic digestion plant c.3 megawatts which had generated a lot of public and press interest. We had not acted in respect of this but the approval we secured through permitted development was covered online by the Knutsford Guardian here: http://www.knutsfordguardian.co.uk/news/14971923.Twemlow_waste_plant_approved/