Fears over giant Oxton biogas plant scheme

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There is growing concern in the Oxton area over the possible construction of a giant anaerobic digester plant bigger than the village itself.

Although no planning application has yet been submitted to Scottish Borders Council, 13 objections have already been sent to the local authority protesting over the plans by Collielaw Biopower Ltd for the plant proposed for land south-east of Collielaw Farm, close to Oxton.

There is currently a Proposal of Application Notice and a Screening Opinion Request lodged with the council concerning the proposed 150kW plant, access road and infrastructure.

As well as possible issues of disruption from increased traffic and smell, residents say it would have a massive impact on a scenic area of local countryside.

SBC officials will have to decide whether the scale of the proposed plant will require an environmental impact assessment.

Documents lodged with SBC state the plant would process 54,000 tonnes of substrate per year, involving organic matter, manures and maize, to produce biogas and agents for the developer, Ferguson Planning, claims there would be “minimal additional environmental impacts.”

But that is not the way some local residents see it. One is Ian Harris, who says the scale of the project together with its location gives rise to significant concerns: “This is proposed for the heart of Lauderdale on a greenfield site on agricultural land, just a mile south of Oxton,” he told us.

“It means between 7,000 and 8,000 additional lorry movements annually on a single carriageway public road that passes several residential properties.

“The developers have sought an opinion from SBC, representing that a full Environmental Impact Assessment is not necessary for this proposed development.

“As local residents, we believe such a detailed assessment is crucial. We believe this proposal is not just of local public interest, but to the wider rural community of the Borders.

“I believe this to be the most significant development of its kind in the region and with it being on a greenfield site, may set a precedent that should be concerning to communities across the region.”