TWO farms have been given to go-ahead to develop a biogas plant to generate electricity and heat from animal manure – despite local opposition.

Westholme Farm, in Islebeck, near Thirsk, applied to Hambleton District Council planning committee to allow the construction of a 500kW biogas plant, with power generated being used at the farm and the balance being sold to the National Grid, and heat generated used entirely on the farm.

The application received three objections from local residents who were concerned about odour and noise, increased traffic, and about possible pathogens released into the environment from spillage of manure.

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One objector said Islebeck would be turned into a “slop bucket” if the proposal was passed and that passengers on the railway overlooking the site might be put off visiting the area.

But planning officer Jonathan Saddington said the risk of smells would be greatly reduced by the proposed anaerobic digestion plant – and the reduction in raw manure spreading will make odour significantly less than most farms of a similar size.

The planning committee also agreed to a 200kW plant at Home Farm, in Newby Wiske near Northallerton, as well as a livestock building for pigs.

Coun Bridget Fortune added: “We had a long discussion during the site visits, we were given lots of information and all our queries were answered – I support the applications.”