‘Stench will simply ruin quality of life’

Whitwell Social Club, Butt Lane, Whitwell.'Public meeting of residents who are against the plans for an Anaerobic Digestor in Whitwell.'Picture: Meeting led by objector Kevin Godbert.
Whitwell Social Club, Butt Lane, Whitwell.'Public meeting of residents who are against the plans for an Anaerobic Digestor in Whitwell.'Picture: Meeting led by objector Kevin Godbert.

It was standing room only as dozens of residents met to discuss growing opposition to plans to build a biogas plant in Whitwell, just a few hundreds yards from homes.

Alkane Energy Ltd have submitted plans to Derbyshire County Council for a biogas plant which would turn waste - such as cattle slurry - into methane to generate electricity.

But residents who have seen the plans fear that the odour coming from the plant, proposed for Southfield Lane, and the amount of vehicles using it will make their lives unbearable.

They also fear it will affect the health of local children, because the proposed location it just 400 metres from the playing field of Whitwell primary school.

An action group has now been formed called Whitwell Against Alkane.

Already hundreds of people have signed a petition opposing the plans.

And last week over 50 residents packed into the village’s social club to discuss the campaign.

Local resident Kevin Godbert, who gave a presentation, said the campaign had only been going for a few weeks, but the strength of opposition was clear to see by how many people had turned out for the meeting.

Many people there feared that drivers transporting waste from the plant would deviate from the proposed route and would use the A1, A57 and A60.

“People living along these routes should be aware of what might be in store for them,” added Kevin.

“They only need to drive past some of these places where the waste is coming from to get a sense of what the stench will be like.”

Several local residents volunteered their expert advice to help the campaign, while others offered their time to fundraise and deliver leaflets.

Everyone at the meeting agreed that a professional approach should be taken if the campaign had a chance of being successful.

“We don’t want to get complacent,” said Kevin.

“It could be a long campaign, but we won’t give up.”

Biogas development director for Alkane Energy Dai Phillips said the company was “fully committed” to ensuring it complies with all its obligations to local residents as set out by the county council, the Environment Agency and related bodies.

“Alkane’s permit, if granted, will require vehicles to use specific transport routes avoiding the villages of Whitwell and Belph,” he added.

“In addition, the environmental assessment has confirmed that any emissions from the facility would not pose an adverse risk to the health of those in the local area.”

“Alkane is continuing its consultation with all parties.”

Whitwell Against Alkane has a campaign website – www.whitwellagainstalkane.info and a Facebook page www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Whitwell-Against-Alkane/152243121457520?ref=mf - where anyone can find out more and details of future meetings.