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Community meeting called in bid to build opposition to Acorn Bioenergy plans for anaerobic digester plant for Fearn area near Tain

By Val Sweeney

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The community meeting will be held at the Seaboard Centre in Balintore.
The community meeting will be held at the Seaboard Centre in Balintore.

Local community councils want to form a united opposition plan to the proposals for what would be the UK’s largest plant of its kind.

Acorn Bioenergy has submitted a proposal of application notice for a site 350m south of Fearn Aerodrome near Tain for a 100GW per year anaerobic digestion plant.

But community leaders have raised concerns, saying the plant could have a detrimental affect on people’s health and wellbeing.

Fearn and Balintore Hilton Community Councils have now joined forces to stage a public meeting on Thursday, August 11 at the Seaboard Centre in Balintore.

The meeting is set to start at 7.30pm.

In a post on social media, Balintore Hilton Community Council stated: “The aim of the meeting will be to form a strategy on how to formulate a collective approach in formally objecting to the proposed construction of Britain’s largest Anaerobic Digester Plant.

“All residents, businesses, interested parties and everyone from the farming community very welcome to attend.”

A leaflet drop will also take place advertising the meeting in a bid to reach as many residents as possible in the local communities.

The statement continues: “It is important that any objections are educated and informed.

“We feel that having the meeting will provide the information and education needed to ensure that our objections are heard by Highland Council Planning.”

Acorn Energy specialises in the development of anaerobic plants across the UK and is committed to decarbonising hard-to-abate sectors by unlocking the full potential of biomethane production in Scotland.

Supporting information in its application states: “It is their intention to make an immediate impact by reducing CO2 emissions in transport, industry, and agriculture commencing in 2023 through the development of new AD plants in the Highlands, Moray, and Aberdeenshire.”

It points out that in May 2019, Highland Council declared its commitment to addressing the climate and ecological emergency and stated an ambition of having the lowest carbon footprint of any local authority in Scotland.

Its statement continues: “The applicant is committed to working with the Highland Council to assist with meeting their target of having a carbon neutral Highlands by 2025.”

The process of anaerobic digestion creates a carbon negative energy source in the form of biogas which will be upgraded to biomethane.

This can then be used directly as an alternative to fuel to power vehicles and be injected into the national grid to provide renewable heat.

Each anaerobic digester plant across the Highlands, Moray and Aberdeenshire would form a virtual pipeline under the firm’s plans, with biomethane being compressed and subsequently transported to the Injection Hub at Morayston, Dalcross via biomethane-powered trucks.

The proposed site at Fearn is approximately 7.07 hectares and includes the access road.

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