RESIDENTS have spoken of their relief after a plan for a huge anaerobic digester plant to convert 90,000 tonnes of food waste a year into fertiliser and energy for the National Grid was rejected.

Villagers from Tollerton, near Easingwold, North Yorkshire, said they were delighted North Yorkshire County Council planning councillors had recognised the scheme to import waste from food manufacturers and supermarkets across North and West Yorkshire – with 170 lorries arriving and leaving daily – would have affected their quality of life.

The proposal for a site near the A19 off Sykes Lane featured an 818sq metre anaerobic digester plant reception building and a 22,000 cubic metre lagoon for the storage of digestate.

After the meeting resident Helen Thomas said parts of the development would have been the height of four double decker buses in what is a flat landscape, representing an intrusion in the rural area. She said :”The plan was for an industrial sized plant, and although we are pleased it has been rejected we believe Galtres Energy could appeal against the decision, so we are going to keep an eye on it.”

The residents, who had lodged 160 objections to the plan by Galtres Energy Ltd, had highlighted their concerns in a protest on the steps of County Hall, before the planning meeting.

One resident told the meeting: “It may sound dramatic, but if this planning application is approved it will keep many residents isolated at home, or at least in the safety of their own cars. The roads are already at breaking point with large vehicles churning up the verges, causing noise and vibration.”

Local member Councillor Peter Sowray added: “This is a very flat area and the plant would be visible from a long way, causing distress for a lot of people.”

A spokesman for the applicants said the proposal had been portrayed inaccurately by council officers, adding: “The applicant feels let down by North Yorkshire County Council and as a result has been commercially disadvantaged by the failure of what is supposed to be a fair democratic process.”