Green energy plant gets the go-ahead

The former Alcan smelter site in Lynemouth. Picture by AIRFOTOS.
The former Alcan smelter site in Lynemouth. Picture by AIRFOTOS.

Controversial proposals to build a facility to generate renewable energy on a former industrial site have been given the green light.

An anaerobic digestion (AD) facility and combined heat and power (CHP) plant facility on the former Alcan smelter site at Lynemouth were approved by 13 votes to one at a meeting of Northumberland County Council’s strategic planning committee.

Crop silage and agricultural residues would be fed into the AD facility, which would produce odourless liquid and solid digestate which could be reused on farmland as a fertiliser. Biomethane produced in the fermenter tanks would power the generator in the CHP unit.

Lynemouth Parish Council objected on a number of grounds, including the adverse visual impact, odour, highway issues, noise or disturbance, the potential for future expansion to include food-waste disposal and the negligible impact on the local economy.

Speaking on the council’s behalf, local ward member Coun Liz Dunn explained that the objections had been formulated following an ‘open and transparent meeting with residents’.

But Nick McAllister, from applicant Farm Renewables, highlighted the positive contributions the scheme would make in terms of renewable energy, providing an income source for farmers and to the local economy.

Coun Rupert Gibson said that he had visited similar sites elsewhere, adding: “They basically just smell like a farm, no more, no less.”