Biogas facility gets go-ahead

The plan for the biogas plant at Blackhills
The plan for the biogas plant at Blackhills

Buchan councillors have voted 6-2 in favour of the erection of a biogas plant on the outskirts of Peterhead.

Councillors had been asked to give the go-ahead for the anaerobic digestion plant at their meeting last Tuesday.

Full planning consent for the facility was sought by Edinburgh-based Buchan Biogas for the plant at Downiehills Farm, Blackhills.

Councillors heard the applicants wanted to build the facility along with ancillary equipment, on-site infrastructure and associated works for the purpose of generating renewable bio-gas and injecting the same into the intermediate pressure gas grid at Downiehills.

The proposal involves the processing of energy crops, grass silage, farmyard wate and some biodegradable waste to produce a renewable form of methane.

A total of 25 representations were lodged in relation to the application - with 14 of those in favour of the plant.Supporters said the new facility would create jobs, provide renewable energy and would make Aberdeenshire a centre for renewable energy.

They also stated it was a sustainable source of feedstocks and would not be obtrusive visually due to nearby industrial uses.

However, objectors raised concerns over the possibility that access would be taken from Howemuir Road to the south of the site even though this was not the identified point of access. They also cited odor, pollution and possible health implications and adverse impact on the landscape.

Planning chief Stephen Archer told area committee members that the plant would have the capacity to generate more than five million m3 of methane per annum, estimated at being enough to supply more than 3,000 homes.

He said: “Inevitably, applications involving the processing of waste materials will cause anxiety within the neighbouring community regarding fears that the area will be blighted by smell, noise and vermin etc.

“However, facilities for the recycling/recovery of value from waste, if properly managed, should not necessarily have an adverse impact on the area in which the facility is situtated.

“In terms of this development, it is the view of this service, following consultation with relevant consultees, that this site can operate without significant detriment to the surrounding area,” he added.