Pickles allows biomass appeal despite landscape impact

Communities secretary Eric Pickles has approved a planning application for a biomass plant on a factory site in Nottinghamshire, despite recognising that the development would have an 'urbanising influence' on the landscape.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles
Communities secretary Eric Pickles

Bassetlaw District Council rejected the application for a biomass fuelled combined heat and power plant in April 2013.

The proposed site currently contains an animal rendering factory and is located on the edge of the village of Low Marnham, Newark.

The refusal was appealed by site owner JG Pears.

The appeal was recovered for determination by the secretary of state in December 2013.

Planning inspector KA Ellison recommended the appeal be allowed and planning permission be granted.

A decision letter issued this week stated that the secretary of state agreed with the inspector's conclusions and recommendation. The note said that the secretary of state had found that the proposal "would exert an urbanising influence on the rural landscape and would fail to demonstrate compatibility with policies to safeguard landscape character".

But the letter said Pickles found it would also result in "less than substantial harm to the significance of St Wilfrid’s church and the Grange to which he attaches considerable importance and weight".

The letter said the secretary of state found that the main source of fuel for the plant would be poultry litter, although it would also make use of meat and bone meal and coppice chip wood.

He concluded that the scheme overcame the particular problem faced by combined heat and power schemes by being located specifically to serve an identified end user for the heat produced in energy generation and that there appeared to be a fair prospect of establishing a reasonably secure fuel supply.

Overall, the letter said Pickles found the scheme would contribute to the delivery of the government’s low carbon energy policies and represented a sustainable form of development.

 


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