A BID by a farm to permit an open anaerobic digestate lagoon larger than a football pitch yards from Wye river tributary the Lugg has drawn a large number of objections.
Bowley Court Farm, at Hope under Dinmore near Leominster, sought retrospective permission over a year ago to adapt an existing reservoir to store the output of three anaerobic digesters which turn farm waste into heat and electricity.
According to the original application to permit the reservoir, approved in 2017, it covers 1.36 hectares and holds 23,000 cubic metres, equal to nine Olympic swimming pools.
Explaining the change of use, the farm said it “was unaware that using the lagoon for digestate and water storage, rather than solely for water storage, would require planning consent”.
Although consultation on the the planning application closed in February, Herefordshire Council’s target to rule on it by November 24 has now come and gone.
Among the 35 individual objections published on the council’s planning portal, Mary Walter worried that with the river Lugg, a SSSI (site of special scientific interest), lying just 400 metres away, “increasing autumn and winter rainfall could lead to overtopping of the lagoon, with disastrous results to water quality downstream”.
A neighbour, Mr B Russell, said he was “under duress due to the continual noise from what I believe to be the aeration pumps in the digestate lagoon”.
Also living nearby, Jenny Ellerton objected to “having a huge digestate pool built secretly behind locked gates within 300m of our property, industrialising the countryside, ruining our views, putting our health in jeopardy and making our quiet narrow lanes dangerous for cycling, walking a riding by the constant stream of traffic”.
Mrs Ellerton said she had been told by the planning officer overseeing the case that, given the volume of objections and the request of the local parish council, it would be passed to the county planning committee to determine.
Herefordshire Council was asked to confirm this but did not respond.
Herefordshire Wildlife Trust and the Herefordshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England have also lodged objections.