TOWN Green power plant GETS FUNDING

Biogas plant in the UK
Biogas plant in the UK

A RENEWABLE energy power station could soon be built in Caistor.

Caistor Energy Partnership and Groundwork Lincolnshire have won funding from the Department of Energy and Climate Change to look into constructing a biogas plant and hold a public consultation.

A biogas plant (also known as an anaerobic digester) turns waste into heat, electricity and fertiliser.

Many such plants operate around the UK, and are even more popular on the continent.

Peter Sanderson of Sustainable Caistor said: “This great project would use locally generated waste to make low-carbon electricity and it will help to safeguard jobs by making the energy supply to the town’s industrial estate more secure and reliable.

“Some of the profits will fund energy efficiency improvements to public and domestic buildings in the town, so everyone will benefit.”

No site has been chosen for the plant yet, but a public consultation on the plans will be held at the Methodist Hall in Caistor on Saturday, March 17 between 11am and 2pm.

Mr Sanderson said people tended to react negatively to such projects when not consulted and informed of all the facts.

But he hopes that by consulting the Caistor community from the start the public will support the biogas plant.

He added: “One site which appears to have many benefits is the industrial estate within Caistor as the companies on the industrial estate could potentially supply the wastes used as the feedstock for the plant, which would therefore cut out any extra lorry journeys.

“This also may also allow heat generated by a combined heat and power unit to be utilised by other users on the industrial estate.

“But there may well be issues which mean that this is not a suitable site or an even better site may be identified which has even greater advantages.

“This project is in its very early stages. As we hope to develop it as at least a part community-owned venture we need to get the support of the community from the start.

“People tend to react negatively to new developments when they feel that they have no say and that their opinions do not count.

“By getting the community involved early on when there are still a lot of questions to answer we hope to get the community to help us answer them.

A renewable energy plant would require planning permission. The Caistor Neighbourhood Plan frontrunner project needs to establish what future development is required in the town.

Andy Gutherson, of Caistor Neighbourhood Plan steering group, said: “The timing of this funding award is ideal to establish the credibility of a biogas plant.

“The Neighbourhood Plan could reflect the ambition for such a facility and earmark potential sites. It’s Caistor’s Neighbourhood Plan so I would encourage people to attend the event and make their views known.”

Charles Cooke, of Lincolnshire Co–operative Development Agency, said: “There are many examples where local people have come together to buy shares in local renewable energy production.

“The shares often yield a significant financial return. We will present examples of good practice so Caistor residents can decide if they would invest in such a project.”

Anyone wanting to know more about the biogass plant plans can go along to the consultation event or contact project manager Vicky Dunn at Groundwork Lincolnshire on 0845 026 7971.