A COUPLE who operate an anaerobic digestion (AD) plant at a Wye riverside farm have been told they have to shut it down as it is dangerous.

The Health & Safety Executive has served two separate “immediate prohibition notices” on Nigel and Sally Green of Much Fawley Farm between the village of Fawley and the Wye, down a cul-de-sac which also serves the neighbouring mediaeval grade II* listed Fawley Chapel.

The notices state that there is a gas release on the roof area between the two anaerobic digesters; there are “non-certified electrics” present; and that operators use non-conductive footwear, lack personal gas monitors, and were “not competent”.

It also found “a failure to to effectively plan, organise, control, monitor and review the preventative and protective measures required to control the risks from fire/explosion and substances hazardous to health” from the plant.

The farm’s assessment of risks from dangerous substances and explosive gases, including biomethane and hydrogen sulphide, has not been reviewed or updated since changes were made to the plant, the notices said.

Mr Green declined to comment on the case, while the HSE said also that “as the matter is still ongoing, we cannot say any more at this time”.

It appears the AD units were installed at the farm in 2012 to turn cattle slurry and chicken litter into electricity to power the farm and export to the grid.

An improvement notice was previously served on the couple in 2021, saying they had “failed to ensure that the risk of fire and explosion… has either been eliminated or reduced so far as is reasonably practicable”, though they then complied with this.

Herefordshire Council also served an enforcement notice on October 2021 against what it said was an unauthorised digestate store at the farm, a planning application for it having been refused.

An appeal by Mr Green against the enforcement appears to be ongoing.

Meanwhile a plan by a different operator to install a large new AD plant at Whitwick Farm in the west of the county, for which poultry waste would also be a feedstuff, remains undecided.