Stink over slurry fuel power plant

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A £4million power plant fuelled by cattle slurry could be built on the site of a St Michael’s Farm if controversial plans get the go-ahead.

Multi-millionaire Simon Rigby, one of the co-founders of eco-friendly energy farming specialists Farmgen, has unveiled plans to build the Anaerobic Digestion (AD) power plant at Moss House Farm, on Hagg Lane, Upper Rawcliffe.

Cattle feed on a energy crops, and the resulting slurry is used to power the plant, which converts the methane energy to electricity.

Sewage sludge and food waste can also be used in the process.

But residents have spoken of their fears of extra heavy wagons travelling down narrow Hagg Lane and concerns over smells, and possible rat infestation at the plant.

Richard Hall, who lives at Fir Tree Farm, next door to the site said: “I am already having sleepless nights.

“There is no way the infrastructure of the village and the lane is built for this type of plant.

“We already have problems with lorries travelling through on Rawcliffe Road, and Hagg Lane is just not made for vehicles of that size.

“Never mind the noise pollution, smell, flies and rats.”

But Farmgen – the company behind the plans – says the 320-acre farm could generate enough energy to power more than 1,500 homes.

It says the plant, part of its £30million UK expansion plan, would be a ‘much-needed boost to the rural economy’.

Ed Cattigan, Farmgen’s commercial director, said: “Our aim is for Moss House Farm to play an important part in our growth plans, as part of the revolution in green energy.

“Lancashire is our home, and we believe that rural communities across the county can benefit from farm-based AD.

“As a result of our efforts, farmers can now see the real and tangible benefits that AD can give them, and the opportunity they have to create a sustainable and stronger future for themselves by switching to ‘energy farming’.”

The farm was bought by Lancashire businessman Simon Rigby in a £2.2million deal.

He opened his first operational Lancashire site at Carr Farm, Warton, despite strong local opposition, earlier this year.

The larger Moss House Farm plant, if approved by Wyre councillors, would use crops from local fields, converting them to electricity to be supplied to the National Grid, potentially generating 1.2MW of electricity. A second plant, at Silloth, in Cumbria was opened earlier this month.

Mr Cattigan added: “We believe what we have achieved at our operations at both Carr Farm and Dryholme Farm in Silloth shows just how successful on-farm AD plants can be.

“The Moss House Farm plant, if approved, will follow that proven formula.”

A local consultation exercise, inviting members of the public and local councillors to view and discuss the proposal is being held on site over the next few weeks.

Letters from Wyre Borough Council have been received by residents giving them until December 2 to register their views.