Anaerobic Digester Facility

 Planning Application – Horsey Toll Farm

9th July 2017

I’ve had several requests from those of you that couldn’t make the hearing including a couple from other residents groups in other parts of the country who are also fighting to stop similar unsuitable facilities being built near to their homes. Below is my written address. I did ‘ad-lib’ a little but its mostly as written.

“Thank you Mr Chairman and Committee

“I address you not just as one of the ward councillors but also as a resident of Park Farm.

“I’d like to attempt to dispel this myth that anaerobic digestion plants are really ‘green’ and I’d like to point out at this early stage that the Environment Agency is on record as commenting “that the proposed development may cause offensive odours and noise within the local surroundings. The planned development is within 400 metres of a large residential area which may be affected should odour or noise emission be an issue.

“This particular plant is proposed to be within 400 metres of Park Farm homes and is for the production of gas (this one isn’t being used to generate electricity to the grid, just a small amount for the plant itself).

“It certainly will not be green for the local environment. What’s very important to consider is that absolutely none of the feed or waste will be from Peterborough residents houses, there being no contract with Peterborough City Council so to be viable much of it will need to be transported in from many miles around.

“This is just private enterprise making a profit at the expense of the local environment by creating more traffic and more fumes to service the plant (as the report says, an estimated 26,000 tonnes of additional waste will be required to feed it) and this will have to come in and out of an already highly congested road network that can’t currently cope with queues regularly being suffered right through Stanground back as far as Fletton and way past Cardea on the bypass back to Amazon during peak times and throughout the day in the winter months if North Bank is closed due to the River Nene flooding, something which seems to happening more and more over the last few years. In addition, Middle Level Commissioners advise that the 70 year old Horsey Toll Bridge will probably not cope with the increased traffic levels.

“Moving on to the process

“It is well documented that industrial style farming of maize to feed the process destroys the soil make up so even the crop growing isn’t without long term problems. The Soil Association states that “Biogas produced from maize, while described as ‘renewable energy’ is not providing any net benefit to the environment. Recent research concluded that ‘using agricultural crops for biogas production is not environmentally sustainable and policy should not encourage this practice”.
“In times of heavy rain, massive quantities of water and soil wash off the surface of the fields, polluting waterways and causing floods”.

“The process, while I appreciate the applicant will claim will be fully controlled, cannot claim 100% that no odour or bio aerosols (well-known by-products of this process) will ever be emitted. I’m an engineer myself that works in a critical environment and breakdowns are part of life and not all can be mitigated against. Incidents throughout Europe suggest that at times foul odour and fungal and bacterial spores will be emitted into the surrounding air and depending on wind direction, will spread to the nearby housing area. This will not only unpleasant by way of smell but can also could cause serious harm to residents and their children by way of health problems.
Cranfield University state in one of their reports that bio aerosols are not filtered out by the hairs and specialised cells that line the nose. They can therefore penetrate deep into the lungs, causing both respiratory and gastro-intestinal symptoms. Exposure to bio aerosols has been associated with human health effects and symptoms usually manifest as inflammation of the respiratory system, coughs and fever and may cause or exacerbate respiratory diseases. They have been also known to cause gastrointestinal illness, eye irritation and dermatitis.

“To imply that the wind rarely blows in the direction necessary to affect Park Farm etc is disingenuous to say the least. From time to time we are affected by the smell from McCains which is much further away and important to note in a direct line of site of this proposed site and Park Farm. Mr Jones I’m sure will confirm to you that cooking smells whilst they can be annoying, are much lower down the agreed planning scale of having an effect on a person’s amenity that that of rotting food.

“Apart from odour and bio aerosols, an alarming quantity of spills have been reported in the industry either within the process plants or from the containers serving them. Some areas of the country have seen their woodlands, grasslands, grazing pastures and waterways absolutely devastated by such spills. If just a small amount of digestate finds its way into our river system and/or water table, which you will have noticed the river on your site visit is actually very close to the proposed site, the environmental damage would be absolutely catastrophic and take years to recover from, if indeed it ever did.

“Nothing survives in or close to the water, all marine life, plant and animal, will die. Then there are the animals and birds that live alongside or visit the waterways. They too will be poisoned.

“Taking all this into consideration, I’m really struggling to see where the benefit is for local residents living within a few hundred yards of the site and I’m certainly not alone.

“Mr Chairman, you cannot fail to notice the amount of people here today who have taken time out to be here to show their support for this objection and the more than 147 people who wrote in personally to object. In addition 3 separate petitions have been submitted, one from our neighbours in Kings Delph with 52 signatures which I understand is nearly every house, one from the surrounding Stanground Wards with 1491 signatures and an online petition with 721 commentators.

“When this plan was first discovered, that’s right we found out about it rather than were told, I managed to persuade the developer to come to Park Farm and meet the residents and discuss what it was they were proposing. Over 200 people were packed shoulder to shoulder in the school hall, all very much concerned at what impact this could have and I know of not one person that went home feeling assured that this would be a good thing. Quite the opposite.

“The proposed site sits within all 3 flood zones and needs evidence of a sequential test but I understand this has not been forthcoming.

“There is no evidence that alternative sites were properly considered as is required by the EA. If they just moved it a few miles away and ensured it was well away from our homes, watercourses and congested highways, I doubt many would object to it.

“The reason the developer wants it where it is, is in my opinion, because the gas main is close by and suggests clearly to me, that this is a case of profit being put before local residents lives.

“Mr Chairman. It is ‘greed’ not ‘green’ that’s driving this application and I urge you and the committee to not only fully endorse the reasons for refusal given by Mr Jones today but also take into consideration the ‘wriggle room’ the developer might achieve by just removing the ‘caravan’ mentioned in any future revised proposal, leaving committee with no option but approve should you choose to accept this as the only resident likely to be affected by noise and odour.

“I will finish by respectfully reminding you of the statement by the Environment Agency. “that the proposed development may cause offensive odours and noise within the local surroundings.

“The residents and their children are extremely concerned at the possible negative effects on their life should this go ahead so I urge you all to please to robustly refuse this application.

“Thank you”.


Today (4th July 2017) the planning and environmental protection committee sat to hear the planning application for an anaerobic digester facility at Horsey Toll Farm. As chair of this committee I stood down as chair so as I could address the committee as both a resident and a local elected councillor.

My deepest thanks go to all those residents who took the time to write in personally, to all those of you that worked so hard delivering leaflets and collecting names on the petitions, to the lady that set up and managed the on-line petition and to all of you who signed them and helped out in any way.

I would particularly like to thank all those that managed to attend the meeting including my colleagues Cllr Rush & Cllr Bisby, which I appreciate can be difficult during the day for those at work, and my huge thanks to the two local residents who bravely came along and addressed committee, they did us all proud.

Sadly, some very dirty tricks were tried to stop me being part of this campaign, from a letter sent in complaining that I was only standing against the application on political grounds to the developer trying to claim that as the Chair I was in a position of authority and that I should have refrained from putting information on my website or taking any part in the planning process. Both clear cases of trying to somehow gag me and something I find despicable and lower than low.

I fought this campaign in the proper manner both as a resident and local councillor. I never sought to influence any officer or committee member in advance of the committee meeting and by my actions of declaring an interest and stepping down to address the committee on the day, which also removed my debating and voting rights, I chose to leave the decision to our cross party committee to decide, and they did so unanimously.

Today we celebrate a great victory for local residents and I hope this will put an end to this type of application being proposed in such an unsuitable place so close to our homes, school, nursery and watercourses and that we will now be able to continue to enjoy our lives in the best ward in Peterborough as is our right.

I also hope those who tried to influence my involvement in such a underhand way will hold their heads in shame at their disgraceful attempts to deny democracy.

Latest 17th May 2017

Anaerobic Waste Plant Hearing – Save The Date – Tuesday 4th July.

The planning application for an anaerobic waste plant at Horsey Toll Farm is scheduled to be heard by committee on Tuesday 4th July at the Town Hall at 1:30pm.

It is imperative that we have a good show of residents attending the hearing to really display the amount of opposition there is locally. Please try to be there.

Latest 4th May 2017

The latest news is that the agent is apparently not going to provide the additional information requested by PCC planning department and has asked that committee make their decision on the information already submitted.

A report from officers and their recommendation to committee to either approve or refuse the application will now be compiled and a date for the hearing set.

I’ll let everyone know when this will be. I’m guessing July if the report is ready on time and if not September. There are no committee hearings in August.

Lets hope officers recommend ‘refusal’ but rest assured we are ready to fight this when the time comes.

Latest 20th May 2016

A terrific total, we’ve managed 1461 validated signatures on the petition and 708 have signed on line at time of writing this post. We’ll ensure these are presented to the planning department by close of play today.

My huge thanks on behalf of the ward to everyone that worked so selflessly right up to the end by knocking on doors, setting up and updating the on-line campaign, designing, printing and putting up the posters and banners, and of course, to those of you who signed and sent in your personal objections.

We’ll know this number soon.

New On-Line Petition

To compliment our door to door petition the opportunity to sign an on-line petition has also now been set up by a local resident. Please take this opportunity to help support our fight against the application. Thanks Elizabeth.

Comments and Petitions Deadline Extension Secured

Update 12th April 2016

Some good news. My request for additional time due to this the application coming through during school half term and because I and my councillor colleagues are in the middle of our election campaign has been responded to as follows: “Due to the public interest and complexity of the application we are extending the deadline for comments, including petitions, until Friday 20th May”.  The petitions and leaflets will be coming through letterboxes soon.

If you can help with delivery or by collecting signatures on the petition please call or text me on 07939 664788 or email me at

Update 1st April 2016

I’ve received some limited information so far from the planning office. It may be open to legal challenge if the original objections and petition are used because new supporting information has been submitted by the applicant particularly in the form of an Environmental Impact Assessment although legal clarification is being sought on this. 167 letters have been sent out but I think it wise not to wait but to encourage everyone who sent in objections before to send in an objection to this new application if you wish to do so. If the petition is deemed inadmissible for the same reason then we’ll go again, we must show we will do all we can to prevent this application receiving permission. More as and when I hear it but please don’t wait, get them objections in again.

Anaerobic Waste Plant – New Application Submitted 

Update 31st March 2016

The expected new planning application has now been validated to erect an Anaerobic Waste Plant at Horsey Toll Farm under planning number 16/00080/MMFUL so expect to see new signs on lampposts and letters from the planning office soon. As ward councillor I have requested all objections received to the previous application including the petition are carried forward and applied to this new application. Please though if you didn’t write in before, or you have more to add, take this chance to do so.

Update 14th January 2016

Today as did many of you, I received notice of the withdrawal by the client of the planning application for an Anaerobic Waste Plant at Horsey Toll Farm.

Whilst this is certainly good news we must remain cautious because this doesn’t mean a revised application won’t follow shortly. I hope not but from my experience, this is a tactic that has been used before by developers to buy time and take stock. We must stay on guard expecting exactly that. Fingers crossed though.

Please be assured that I along with our MP Shailesh Vara, and fellow Cllr’s Rush & Bisby stand ready to fight against any future application should this prove to be the case.

Update 8th January 2016

Cambridgeshire County Council has requested and received agreement on a deadline extension which will put back any committee hearing to around April due to not yet having received the requested Environmental Impact Assessment. More consultation and publicity will need to take place once this report is actually produced by the developer.

I understand negotiations are taking place between Peterborough and Cambridgeshire regarding a joint planning committee hearing and that this decision will be taken from a Peterborough perspective by the Deputy Chair of the Planning and Environmental Committee in conjunction with the appropriate directors, officers and legal teams. As the Chair of this committee I will take no part in this decision due to my obvious predetermination against this application.

Please be assured that I along with our MP Shailesh Vara, and fellow Cllr’s Rush & Bisby stand ready to fight against this application at the committee hearing if planning officers decide to recommend approval.

Update 4th September

The council are still consulting with various bodies. Its now likely to be nearer Christmas now before the council officers are in a position to make a recommendation to committee. You can be sure that I’m watching this very closely.

Update  12th July

Anaerobic Waste Plant – How to stay engaged

If you want to help and you have some spare time and in an effort to keep everyone engaged while we’re in the consultation stage when it tends to go a bit quiet, please just keep researching AD Plants. This will be a great help to the campaign.

It doesn’t matter how many times I receive a piece of research, the next one could just be the golden nugget that helps us stop this application in its tracks. Whatever you find will always be appreciated.

Update 9th July

Petition submitted with over 1600 signatures

I’ve submitted the petition against the anaerobic waste facility application for Horsey Toll Farm to both Cambridgeshire CC and Peterborough CC planning departments. Over 1600 signatures were secured and these will now be validated. A huge well done and thank you to everyone involved and to all that signed. 

Update 4th July

Anaerobic Waste Plant petition smashes the 1000 mark.

We had already surpassed our initial target of 500 names for our petition but so far today with more canvassing still going by our great team and more sheets to come in, the signatures stand at more than 1150 against this application. Well done to everyone involved. Don’t forget your personal objections must be with Peterborough City Council by the 9th July.

Say NO 2

Update 3rd July

Anaerobic Waste Plant – The pictures they didn’t include in the planning application. Looks pretty damn close to homes to me and evidence of the traffic build up at the junction

Petition Exceeds 500 names

Well done to all involved in collecting signatures for the petition. We have signatures now well in excess of 500 names and we still have a week to go. Thank you so much for all your efforts in supporting our community. If you haven’t signed yet and wish to, please call me on 07939 664788 and leave a message or email me

Update 30th June

Peterborough City Council Planning Department have decided an Environmental Impact Assessment is required for the Anaerobic Digestion Plant

Environmental Impact Assessments are there to protect the environment by ensuring that a local planning authority when deciding whether to grant planning permission for a project, which is likely to have significant effects on the environment, does so in the full knowledge of the likely significant effects, and takes this into account in the decision making process. The regulations set out a procedure for identifying those projects which should be subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment, and for assessing, consulting and coming to a decision on those projects which are likely to have significant environmental effects.

The aim of Environmental Impact Assessment is also to ensure that the public are given early and effective opportunities to participate in the decision making procedures.

Update 24th June

Biogas Plant Environmental Disaster – Digestate Spill Kills All Aquatic Life

This happened only yesterday (23rd June 2015). We must do all we can to oppose the one being planned for near our homes and in my opinion a disaster waiting to happen.

Read more by clicking on this link

Please ensure you submit your comments by the 30th June to Cambs CC and the 9th July to Peterborough CC and if we missed you when we were out canvassing, get in touch so we can pop back and you can sign the petition. 500+ signatures are already in sight and we’ve only been at it a couple of days.

‘Localism’ is the way the country is encouraged under this government allowing local residents to have a a real say about developments in their area, so along with the support of our MP, all the councillors in Stanground Central and me in Stanground East, we are sending a very clear message to the developer and planning officers about what the majority think. 

Update 19th June

Horsey Toll – Latest – Extended cut off date for comments secured.

After my request for a time extension for comments I’ve had confirmation from Cambs CC that the cut off date for comments has now been extended to the 30th June and Peterborough CC to the 9th July. Canvassers are out there with petitions and these will close on the 5th July so if you haven’t already please don’t wait to get those comments in.

Update 17th June

Say NO to Horsey Toll Farm Anaerobic Digestion Plant – Petition Launch

Thanks everyone for your petition ideas. The format has now been agreed by the campaign committee and is ready to go today. If you kindly offered to help out at our public meeting, then now is the time to contact me and advise which road/s you’d be prepared to canvass.

Update 16th June

Say NO to Horsey Toll Farm Anaerobic Digestion Plant

We had a great turnout again last night at the school from residents of Park Farm, Cardea, Stanground & Kings Delph wanting to find out more about what is being proposed and to form a committee to coordinate the fight against this application. Please keep watching this website or my Facebook page for the latest news until the campaign website is up and running at which time I’ll post the link to it. In the meantime if you haven’t already, please can I urge you to send in your personal objections to Cambridgeshire CC and Peterborough CC Planning Departments asap.

Update 9th June

More than 150 residents from Park Farm, Cardea, Stanground, Kings Delph & Whittlesey packed into the main hall at the school last night to hear a presentation and put questions to the Envitec representatives and both Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Planning Officers in attendance.

Public consultation . . Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, UK . . 08.06.2015

Feedback after the at times understandably heated meeting strongly suggested that no one was convinced that this plant would not pose real risk to our health, safety and enjoyment of the area and my considered opinion is that this is a clear case of ‘profit over amenity’.

It was agreed by those in attendance that the next stage was to arrange a meeting in order to set up our campaign group and coordinate the future direction. I have therefore arranged this for next Monday 15th June from 7pm-9pm at Heritage Park Primary School in the main hall. If like me, you want to fight against this application and work together to try and stop it as a community, then please come along.

Update 5th June

Peterborough City Council has now received the same planning application because part of the site and the access road is within the Peterborough Authority Area. It is vitally important that you also submit your comments to Peterborough Planning Office via letter or email to ref 15/00842/MMFUL

I will be requesting to address the Peterborough Planning Committee in my role as ward councillor.

Update 30th May

I have been in communication with our MP Shailesh Vara and he has asked me to assure residents that he shares our concerns and has promised his support and help with our campaign to stop the building of the anaerobic waste plant so close to Park Farm and Cardea.

Update 30th May

Click on the image below. This is a prime example of the problems we could experience if the waste plant goes ahead.

Update 29th May 

Great to hear that Stanground Central councillors Brian Rush & Ray Bisby have joined me in objecting to this development.

Update 26th May

The planning consultant and developer have agreed to my request for a public meeting. A presentation will take place in the Heritage Park Primary School – Main Hall at 6:30pm on Monday 8th June followed with a question and answer session up until 9pm if required.

Please do come along and find out more about what is proposed and use this chance to have your questions answered.

In the interests of  fairness I have requested of Cambs CC that they extend the cut off time to receive comments to mid June at the earliest, bearing in mind the meeting isn’t until 8th June. However, I would urge residents not to wait and to send in their comments as soon as possible. Additional comments can still be submitted after this public meeting if it is felt necessary.

Update 25th May

Thank you for all the support getting the leaflets out, there’s still more to do if you can help please. Over 2000 hits on the Facebook and my website page show the information is getting out there and I’m getting a lot of contact from Cardea residents also opposed to the application. We need to ensure all residents in the area are aware and have their chance to comment. I also found out over the weekend that residents down the road at Kings Delph also had no knowledge of the application either so we’re delivering leaflets there as well.

Update Update 21st May

The leaflet deliveries have started and will continue throughout Park Farm to ensure everyone is aware of the application and has a chance to look at what’s planned and comment if they so wish. More helpers are required so if you can help with some deliveries please get in touch on 07939 664788.  Cardea residents have also been made aware and are beginning to register their comments too.

Peterborough City Council planning office received a letter today from Cambs CC for comment and have advised that they will be investigating the application in detail.

Update Update 20th May

The leaflets have arrived so I need volunteers to come forward if you would please to help get them out. The more we have the easier it’ll be. The developer has agreed to meet residents at a public meeting and this should be one evening week beginning 1st June at Heritage Park Primary School. I’ll confirm the details asap.

Update Update 19th May

Part of the proposed development falls within the Peterborough City Council boundary therefore a duplicate application also has to made to our own city planning department. Nothing has been received as of yesterday but this should be immanent. Once received I will be contacted (as will the surrounding ward councillors) and I’ll post the number because it will be important for residents to duplicate their comments to PCC too.

I’ve also had a response from the planning consultant who will put my request for a local public consultation to the client and come back to me with their response.

Disappointingly…nothing heard from Cambs CC.


A planning application has been submitted to Cambs County Council for an Anaerobic Waste Plant at Horsey Toll Farm, Toll Way Peterborough PE7 2PP.  Notices have been placed on the green wheel with contact information and a request for comments within 21 days of the 15th May 2015 (by the 5th June latest).

I am very concerned that the proposed site is just a few hundred metres from residential properties in Park Farm and am actively seeking further information about the indicated height of silo’s, smell, water table pollution, the effects on wildlife and vehicular access from what is already a nightmare of a junction near the Pondersbridge turning off Whittlesey Road.

Clearly, it is not reasonable to request residents travel all the way to Cambridge to view the planning documents and ask questions of officers therefore I have urged Cambs CC to consider a more local location such as the school or community centre for a public consultation asap.

Please can I urge you all to visit the CambsCC website and view the planning application and make your comments as soon as possible. It would also be useful if you are willing to copy me in with your comments.

Use this link then enter application number F/2000/15/CW 


Or phone 01223 715518

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