Farm idea breathes new life into plan for biogas plant

PLANS for a biogas plant at Caistor have changed direction.

In March, residents flocked to a community consultation on the proposal for a renewable energy plant for the town and feedback sheets showed 90 per cent of people supported Caistor having a local vision and policies to encourage environmentally-sustainable projects, with an even larger 92 per cent supporting the principle of alternative energy supply.

“As we had no firm plans for where a biogas plant would be located or how big it would be, we could not expect people to say definitely whether they supported the proposal or not,” said Peter Sanderson of Sustainable Caistor.

“We therefore simply asked whether they were in favour of a biogas plant in principle, and 84 per cent of people said they were.”

The updated feasibility study for the proposed plant has now been completed and shows there is a lot less waste available from the town’s industrial estate now than in 2009.

“The previous study had suggested waste arising from the industrial estate would be enough to run a biogas plant, so it made sense to consider putting the plant on the industrial estate itself and so avoid any extra lorry journeys” added Mr Sanderson.

“However, now that we know that not enough waste will be available, the main incentive to put a biogas plant there has gone.

“At first we were despondent as the feasibility study seemed to be the end of the biogas plant idea, but the high levels of community support we had received was very reassuring”

Now a local farmer has come forward with ideas about locating a biogas plant on his farm and growing crops to use in it instead of food wastes, so Caistor may yet be powered by locally-generated green energy.

“He is open to the idea of working with us, so we are currently discussing various options with him to see if at least some of the community benefits that were hoped to be achieved from a community-owned biogas plant can still be realised,” said Mr Sanderson.