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Ecotricity wants controversial Tewkesbury gas plant “to lead the way”


Ecotricity has stepped up its bid to build a controversial gas plant near Tewkesbury. Despite opposition from residents and two refusals by the borough council, the Stroud-based company is not giving up on its plans for the site at Fiddington. It had already gone to appeal over the council’s decision to reject its first planning application and now it has also appealed against the authority’s refusal of its second, scaled down, proposal. And Ecotricity has said it wants the Fiddington site to “lead the way” in producing “green gas”. A spokesman said: “We can confirm that we’ve submitted an appeal for our second smaller application for a green gas mill in Fiddington.

“The Government are pushing forward with fracking, despite public support being at historically low levels of just 16 per cent. Fracking is not just an immediate environmental risk, it will jeopardise our climate change targets as well.

“It’s a big risk for a gas we can’t afford to burn. The Government says it can make us more energy independent - but for how long, these sites have very short lifetimes.

“And there is an alternative - a carbon neutral form of gas, which is annually renewable, will create thousands of jobs and keep billions in our economy and support farming in it’s much needed evolution from intensive food production.“

And provide new wildlife habitats on an unprecedented scale. Green gas made from grass, grown right here in Britain on marginal land. The answer is under our feet not under the ground – and we want Fiddington to lead the way.”

Borough councillors and residents have said the plant would be too big to be built so close to the hamlet, that it would ruin the landscape and cause smell and traffic problems.

A Save Our Lanes group has been set up by people fearing that the narrow roads around Fiddington would be choked by the thousands of tractors and trailers that would go to and from the plant each year.

Spokesman Tony Davies said: “We at Save Our Lanes represent the majority of Fiddington residents and the hundreds of people who vigorously object to the proposal by Ecotricity to establish a so-called green gas mill within our community. We will submit our objections for both proposals during the forthcoming appeal process.

“There is no benefit to Fiddington or the surrounding area by this industrial proposal. It generates excessive traffic using the heaviest and largest vehicles permissible on our roads today to move around 150,000 tonnes of silage and digestate to and from the plant along the quiet lanes of Fiddington and the surrounding road network. It would accumulate hundreds of thousands of miles, consuming over 300,000 litres of diesel fuel.

“As a result they will simply destroy the current tranquil, clean air environment, where many people from Tewkesbury and the surrounding area use these few remaining quiet lanes for running, cycling and walking and to access the many footpaths and bridle paths that are inter-connected by them.”

He said government policy was to discourage the construction of AD plants, like the one proposed in Fiddington that use crops, as they remove hundreds of thousands of acres of land from food production.

He added: “Any attempt to try and justify such a plant on so called “green credentials” is totally misleading. The reality is that those who chose to try and invest in these industrial plants do so for one reason only.

“Any attempt to disguise this behind alternative sensitive methods of gas generation, such as fracking, is also misleading.”