Green light for waste gas plant near Finmere

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A PLANNING application for a new facility to burn gases at a landfill site near Finmere has been approved.

Despite a challenge by Finmere Parish Council, Oxfordshire County Council’s planning and regulation committee allowed Premier Aggregates to proceed with its application for an energy-generating plant powered by waste gases at the Finmere Quarry landfill site.

Chairman of Finmere Parish Council Mike Kerford-Byrnes said the council had accepted the decision.

He said: “The parish council submitted a comprehensive letter challenging the planning application but the officers’ recommendation was to accept.

“We tried very hard and spoke at the meeting for five minutes.

“We accept the decision and look to it being implemented in accordance with the conditions associated with it.”

The landfill operators had been due to finish depositing waste at Finmere Quarry by December 31, 2020, but the new planning permission means waste can now continue to be brought to the site until December 31, 2035.

A wide range of conditions has been imposed, mainly relating to the restoration and landscaping of the quarry area once the landfill site has reached the end of its life.

The Finmere Quarry landfill site has the capacity to take in 150,000 tons of waste each year.

Of this, 31,000 tonnes is expected to go into landfill, with the rest being recycled and sold or used to generate electricity.

Organic waste such as leftover food or garden refuse would be placed in a large steel cylinder and dried out before being placed in a ‘gasifier’ to produce a synthetic gas.

High-tech equipment will harvest the gas to generate electricity, which will then be sold to the National Grid.

Ash and other solid waste will be buried at the landfill site.

The generator should produce 6MW of electricity, of which 5MW will be sold to the National Grid, enough to power around 2,500 homes.

Operator Premier Aggregates has repeatedly run into opposition from Finmere villagers since the landfill site opened in 1993.

An enforcement notice was served in 2005 after OCC found waste had been over-tipped.