Anaerobic digester at green belt farm judged to be inappropriate

The construction of an anaerobic digestion plant and silage compound at a farm in the Hertfordshire green belt was held to represent an inappropriate form of development despite an appellant's claims that it was directly related to agriculture.

The material or feed stock for the plant would originate from on-site crops, the inspector acknowledged, and all the heat generated would be used to heat the farm buildings. But 85 per cent of the electricity generated would be exported onto the national grid and could power up to 660 homes. Generating electricity did not fall within the definition of agriculture and was by definition inappropriate despite the benefits to the farm. The supporting infrastructure and tanks would also materially reduce the openness of the green belt despite some screening by existing vegetation. The benefits of reducing carbon dioxide emissions and supporting farm viability did not outweigh the conflict with green belt policy, the inspector held.

Inspector: Sukie Tamplin; Written representations

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