Planning Consent

In the vast majority of cases Planning Permission will be required in order to develop an AD scheme. It is recommended that any scheme is developed in close consultation with the Local Planning Authority who can provide guidance on the exact requirements of the planning process. In some circumstances, small scale agricultural facilities processing materials generated on farm may be allowed as a Permitted Development.

General points of good practice that could contribute to a successful planning application for an appropriately located facility include:

· Holding discussions with the local community at an early stage. This can help to prevent any misconceptions associated with the scheme and can also identify potential additional benefits of the scheme such as heat users or local markets for digestate.

· A full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) may be required for large schemes or those in sensitive locations. Identifying possible environmental issues at an early stage allows more time for collection and preparation of data that can contribute towards an EIA, or can be used to address specific environmental concerns without the need for a full EIA. You should consult The Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999 and The Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Amendment) (Wales) Regulations 2008.

· Refer to policy documents such as the:

o Planning Policy Wales (PPW) 2002

o Ministerial Interim Planning Policy Statement 01/2005 ‘Planning for Renewable Energy’ which amends Sections 12.8 to 12.10 of the PPW (2002)

o Ministerial Interim Planning Policy Statement 01/2008 ‘Planning for good design’

o Technical Advice Note (TAN) 21 Waste (2001)

o Technical Advice Note (TAN) 8 Renewable Energy (2005)

o Technical Advice Note (TAN) 11 Noise (1997)

o Technical Advice Note (TAN) 12 Design (2009)

o Technical Advice Note (TAN) 15 Development and Flood Risk (2004)

o Technical Advice Note (TAN) 18 Transport (2007)

o Technical Advice Note (TAN) 5 Nature Conservation and Planning (2009)

o Welsh Office Circular 11/99 – Environmental Impact Assessment

o Wales Regional Waste Plans (visit the Wales Regional Waste Plans Web site)

Any development of a waste treatment facility within or adjacent to a community is likely to cause concern, and anaerobic digestion is no different in this regard. The most common concerns raised by the public to date are:

· Odour

· Noise

· Increased traffic movements

· Visual impact of structures

Good design and house keeping measures as well as engineering solutions exist to mitigate the majority of concerns regarding odour, noise and visual impact of structures. An appropriate road infrastructure and site access must be available to accommodate both the import of feedstocks and the export of digestates. It may be possible to define prescribed routes for vehicle movements in order to avoid any sensitive areas. Communication and engagement with the local community to foster trust has proved to be fundamental to the success in the planning process. A Communication guideline for AD plants was produced under the IEE Biogas Europe project and can be downloaded at this link -

If you are considering developing an AD scheme, contact your local planning authority as soon as possible to discuss the planning implications. You can find the contact of your local planning authority on the Planning Portal website.

Planning applications for AD plants should include a number of information documents such as:

· Detailed site plan – showing the development site, applicant’s control area and neighbouring dwellings and other sensitive buildings

· Plans, elevations and sections of the development

· A full description of the processes to be employed e.g. waste reception, processing, digestion and energy generation

· Description of the feedstocks, its origins, transport routes, delivery vehicles used etc.

· Description of the solid and liquid digestate and end use or disposal

· Energy output and utilisation

· Environmental advantages of AD including carbon emissions offset

· Plans for consultation with community

· Economic/social advantages for the region – employment etc.

· Potential emissions (which may include modelling of emission dispersion) and related mitigation measures for odours and air pollution, noise and visual impact, ground and water courses pollution

· Site management measures during the construction phase

· H&S regime during construction and operation

· Requirements for off-site equipment e.g. transformer and transmission lines, gas pipelines, gas storage/refuelling station

Health and Safety

No specific guidance for the anaerobic digestion industry has yet been issued by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) but you should consult HSE’s related guidance (e.g. for waste management industry) and liaise with HSE as soon as you start planning a facility as well as consult with the relevant fire authority for specific requirements. All elements of plant construction should comply with the Construction Design and Management (CDM) Regulations where necessary, and plant operators should comply with their Statutory requirements as employers and with the existing guidance provided by the HSE.

Activities associated with the AD plant should be subject to risk assessment procedures with appropriate measures to mitigate risks identified and implemented. Standard operating procedures for routine tasks should also be developed and communicated to all relevant personnel.

Specific risks associated with handling flammables gases, potential biohazards and existence of asphyxiate and toxic atmospheres should be thoroughly assessed and control measures implemented.