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Renewable Energy Planning Guidance Note 4

The development of
anaerobic digestion plants

Current Document Status







Approving body


Responsible Officer


Date approved


Version History






Peter Rugg

PPAP adopted version



Ellie Inglis-Woolcock


July 2012

The Development of Anaerobic Digestion Plants in

This guidance document has been prepared to assist all parties involved in the renewable
energy development process. It is intended that the guidance document will be adopted by
the Council as a Supplementary Planning Document following the adoption of the Councils
Core Strategy proposed after 2013. Until then the status of this document is that it has been
approved by Members of the Councils Planning Policy Advisory Panel and Waste Development
Advisory Panel and while it will not attract the full weight of an SPD document will attract
some weight in decisions reached on planning applications.

This draft guidance note aims to provide planning advice in respect of the
development of Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plants in Cornwall.
The guidance contained within this document aims to assist anyone wishing to
develop an Anaerobic Digestion plant to progress from their initial concepts and ideas,
through to the submission of a planning application.
The Government has set targets to increase electricity and/or heat generation from
renewable sources. Cornwall Council is keen to promote the generation of electricity
and/or heat from renewable sources in Cornwall in order to contribute towards a more
sustainable future.
This guidance note is part of a series of planning guidance notes for Renewable
Energy prepared by Cornwall Council. Other guidance notes include.
1. <50kW solar PV and solar thermal
2. >50kW solar PV
3. Onshore wind
4. Anaerobic Digestion
5. Hydropower
6. Biomass
7. Heat pumps
8. Deep Geothermal
9. Advanced Energy from Waste
These guidance notes will be regularly reviewed and updated and can be viewed on
our website at
We hope that you find this planning guidance useful but if you have any queries
please do not hesitate to contact the Planning and Regeneration Service at or telephone 0300 1234 151.
We continuously seek to improve the quality of the advice and guidance that we offer
and we would be happy to receive comments, suggestions or images which may
improve this guidance document.

July 2012



What is Anaerobic Digestion?

Government Policy for Anaerobic Digestion

Financial Incentives

Cornwall Council Waste and Planning Policy

Role of the Local Planning Authority

Environmental Impact Assessments

Role of the Environment Agency

Applying for Planning Permission

Issues to be considered in any Planning Application:

a) Landscape and Visual Impact

Case Study 1: Penare Farm


b) Design of Buildings


c) Landscaping and Boundary Treatment of site


d) Traffic movements and access to site


Case Study 2: Sharps Brewery


e) Vehicle Movement and Parking on Site


f) Emissions, Odour and Air Quality


g) Pest Control


h) Noise


i) Security Fencing/Lighting


j) Agriculture


k) Soil stripping, storage and replacement


l) Water Management


m) Public Rights of Way


o) Site Safety


p) Ecology


q) Historic Environment


r) Grid connection


s) Community involvement and engagement


Appendix A: Electricity and heat generating capacity


Appendix B: Environment Agency Environmental Permitting Regulations


Appendix C: SW Environment Agency Anaerobic Digestion Guidance Note


Appendix D: EIA Screening Procedures Flow Chart


Appendix E: Anaerobic Digestion Template Conditions


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What is Anaerobic Digestion

Anaerobic digestion is a natural process which converts organic matter such as
household food and garden waste, farm slurry, waste from food processing plants and
supermarkets, into energy. The main products resulting from anaerobic digestion are
biogas (a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide), which is very similar to natural
gas, and digestate, a low level fertilizer. The biogas can be used to generate
electricity, gas or heat, or compressed for use as a biofuel. The fertiliser is rich in
nitrates and phosphates. The water industry has been using anaerobic digestion to
convert effluent into energy and fertiliser for many years. However, woody biomass
cannot yet be used in anaerobic digestion because the micro-organisms are unable to
breakdown the lignin, the compound that gives wood its strength.

The outputs of anaerobic digestion therefore consist of:

Biogas can be used to produce electricity in a generator or combusted to

produce heat. It can also be 'upgraded' by cleaning the biogas to remove the
CO2 and contaminant gases, leaving pure methane which is often called biomethane. Bio-methane is effectively renewable natural gas, so it can be put
into the National Grid to provide heat and power or compressed for use as a
renewable road fuel.
Digestate is the undigested remnants of the feedstocks that the bacteria
cannot use and the remains of dead bacteria. It contains valuable plant
nutrients like nitrogen, phosphate and potassium and organic humus, so it can
be spread on the land as a substitute for synthetic fertiliser sometimes referred
to as a biofertiliser.

July 2012

There is a wealth of detailed information available regarding what the anaerobic

digestion process is and its potential advantages. This document will provide web links
to recommended sites throughout the text but Cornwall Council can accept no
responsibility for the content of these websites.
The Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA) ( and
The Official Source for Information on AD and Biogas ( which
is supported by The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) provide more
technical information with regards to the anaerobic digestion process. The Royal
Institution for Chartered Surveyors has produced a comprehensive briefing paper on
anaerobic digestion

Government Policy for Anaerobic Digestion

National policy for the management of waste is contained in Department for the
Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) Waste Strategy for England 2007 which
is supportive of anaerobic digestion and the generation of energy from waste,
particularly within farming where it can be used to manage manure and recognises
the benefits of digestate produced from the process.
The Government Review of Waste Policy in England 20111 supports the principle of
the Waste Hierarchy and indentifies Anaerobic Digestion as a positive solution for
the management of food waste.

The government published the Anaerobic Digestion Strategy and Action Plan
( in June 2011 demonstrating its support of anaerobic digestion technology as
a means of waste management and heat/electricity generation throughout the UK.
Produced jointly by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and The
Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). This Action Plan
was produced in close association with the anaerobic digestion industry and contains a
comprehensive list of future actions.

National Planning Policy Framework2

Published in March 2012 the National Planning Policy Framework sets out the
Governments planning policies for England. The document provides a framework

National Planning Policy Framework

July 2012

within which local councils and communities can produce their own local and
neighbourhood plans reflecting the needs and priorities for their area.
The National Planning Policy Framework does not contain specific waste policies, as
national waste planning policies will be published as part of a National Waste
Management Plan for England. Until that time Planning Policy Statement 10 (planning
for sustainable waste management) remains in place.
In terms of renewable and low carbon energy, the National Planning Policy Framework
is supportive of a transition to a low carbon future and encourages the use of
renewable resources. It goes on to state that local councils should plan for new
development in locations and in a manner that reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
Opportunities for developments to use energy from decentralised, renewable or low
carbon energy supply and co-locating potential heat customers and suppliers should
be encouraged.

Planning Policy Statement 10: Planning for Sustainable Waste

Management3 (PPS10)
Sets out the national planning policy for waste management and a key aim is to
encourage more sustainable waste management by moving the management of waste
up the waste hierarchy, with disposal as a last resort. There is a need for a stepchange in the way waste is handled and significant new investment in waste
management facilities. The planning system is pivotal to the adequate and timely
provision of the new facilities needed. PPS10 also states that development control
decisions for waste management facilities should have regard to amenity and
environmental impacts of developments.

Financial Incentives
There are various sources of financial incentives currently available to support the
future growth of this fledging industry.

The Feed In Tariff provides an income for 20 years for every Kilowatt/hour
generated. This is subject to review
The Renewable Heat Incentive
entive/incentive.aspx) was launched in March 2011. This provides an income
for 20 years for every Kilowatt/hour of heat used external to the AD process.
The Renewable Obligation
ew_obs/renew_obs.aspx ) provides income for larger AD plants of electrical
generating capacity of 5 Megawatts or more and provides currently 2
Renewable Obligation Certificates per megawatt hour of electricity produced.
The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) provides income via a
Renewable Transport Fuel certificate which can be claimed by a biofuel supplier
for every litre of fuel supplied to a road vehicle.

Cornwall Council Waste and Planning Policy

July 2012

Cornwall Council has a statutory duty to collect and dispose of all municipal waste in
Cornwall (this includes domestic waste and certain waste arising from businesses
where requested to do so).
The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states that for 12 months following
the publication of the NPPF full weight may be given to relevant policies adopted since
2004 (in accordance with the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004) even
where there is a degree of conflict. It also goes on to state that in other cases due
weight can be given to relevant policies in existing plans according to their degree of
consistency with the NPPF going as far as to say that the closer the policies in the
plan to the policies in the Framework, the greater the weight that may be given.
However, the National Planning Policy Framework does not contain specific policies
relating to waste and refers to the policies contained within Planning Policy Statement
10. It is considered that saved policy 6 (waste) of the Cornwall Structure Plan 2004
is in broad conformity with the National Planning Policy Framework.
Planning policy for the Cornwall is currently being reviewed and a Local Plan (Planning
Future Cornwall) is being prepared; once adopted the Local Plan (Planning Future
Cornwall) will contain all the planning policies for Cornwall. Planning policies for waste
will consider how much additional provision should be made for recycling, energy
recovery and landfill.

Role of the Local Planning Authority

All anaerobic digestion plants require planning consent. The Planning and
Regeneration function of Cornwall Council is structured within different teams. The
Local Planning Team prepares planning policy and the Development Management
Team deal with planning applications.

Role in Renewable Energy

Contact Details


Develops policy and guidance

across Cornwall
Tel: 0300 1234 151


Determines planning
applications for strategic
development across Cornwall
Tel: 0300 1234 151

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

Environmental Impact Assessment is a systematic process of identifying, predicting
and evaluating the likelihood of significant effects of a development on the
environment. In planning terms Environmental Impact Assessment has a specific
connotation and will need to be considered carefully in the development process. In
those cases a formal Screening Opinion (see below) should be obtained from the
local planning authority to confirm whether or not a proposed anaerobic digestion
plant would need to be subject to Environmental Impact Assessment. However
whether Environmental Impact Assessment is actually required will need to be
evaluated on a case by case basis. If an Environmental Impact Assessment is required
you are advised to obtain a Scoping Opinion from the local planning authority. This
Scoping Opinion will set out the detail and content that the Environmental Statement
would need to address when submitting any planning application. The case officer

July 2012

dealing with the Screening Opinion will be able to provide further assistance regarding
this matter.
Obtaining a Screening Opinion from the local planning authority
The legislation covering Screening Opinions (the Environmental Impact Assessment
Regulations 2011) states that a request for a Screening Opinion in relation to an
application for planning permission should be accompanied by:

A plan sufficient to identify the land;

A brief description of the nature and purpose of the development and of its
possible effects on the environment; and
Such other information or representations as the person making the request
may wish to provide or make.

If an Environmental Impact Assessment is required a planning application will not be

valid, and hence not registered, until this information has been prepared and
accompanies the submission documents.
A flow chart of the Environmental Impact Assessment Screening Procedures and the
Screening Decision can be seen in appendix D.

Role of the Environment Agency

In addition environmental permits (see appendix B) are likely to be required before
the anaerobic digestion plant can be brought into operation even when planning
consent has been obtained. These permits are controlled and issued by the
Environment Agency (EA). This guidance has been produced with assistance from the
Environment Agency and provides links to their relevant guidance with respect to the
permitting of anaerobic digestion facilities.
The Environment Agency cannot issue an environmental permit until the relevant
planning permission has been granted and the Environment Agency will always be
consulted as part of the planning application process.
It is therefore always advised to contact the Environment Agency
( or telephone 01208 265060) at the very
start of any anaerobic digestion proposal to ensure that the plant will be able to obtain
the necessary permits to operate if planning consent were to be obtained.
Further detail on environmental permitting is available on the Environment Agency
ermitting.pdf and the South West Environment Agency has produced the advice sheet
contained in appendix C which gives some basic starting guidance.

Applying for Planning Permission

Pre-application discussions with the Local Planning Authority
Since 31 January 2012 the Council has introduced a fee for its pre-application service,
which allows the Council to improve its service and provide a more consistent level of
advice within agreed response times. For proposals such as the types considered in
this guidance note, the Council strongly recommends that on going pre-application
discussions take place, with the benefit of comments from key consultees. In order to
provide this service the Council recommends that a Planning Performance Agreement

July 2012

(PPA) is entered into. A PPA is a framework agreed between the Council, as the local
planning authority, and an applicant for the management of complex development
proposals within the planning process. A PPA allows both the developer and the
Council to agree a project plan and programme which will include the appropriate
resources necessary to generally determine the planning application to a firm
To find out more, you can view our Planning Performance Agreement charter4. The
Council is happy to have an initial no-cost discussion with developers about how a PPA
can assist a development project.
In order to facilitate pre application discussions it is recommended that developers
provide the following initial information to initial discussions:

A location plan (1:1250 metric scale),

A site/block plan (1:500 metric scale),
Details of buildings proposed, including elevations,
Details of any ancillary works,
A supporting statement, including proposed electrical grid connection and
potential heat users.

Additional information may be required depending on the scale and location of the
proposed development.
Planning Application Fee
The local planning authority will treat such facilities as plant and machinery for the
purposes of fee categorisation, whereby 335 per 0.1ha will be charged if the site
area (i.e. the area to be edged red) falls under 5 hectares. Where facilities exceed 5
hectares the planning application fee will be levied on the basis of 335 per 0.1ha, up
to a ceiling of 16,565 for the first 5 hectares and then 100 for each additional 0.1
Example: Anaerobic Digestion facility comprising tanks, anaerobic digestion facilities,
telemetry buildings and other equipment (total site area 0.5 hectares), proposed
within a farm unit adjacent to a cluster of farm buildings, with access to the AD facility
gained by an existing farm entrance.
The fee for 0.5 hectares at 335 per 0.1 hectare comes to 5 x 335 = 1675.
There is no need to include the fixed 170 for the access road (whether it is new or
existing) since only the larger fee category is payable.
Planning application red line and blue line.
The planning application site boundary for an
anaerobic digestion site should be delineated by a red
line. This red line should encompass all development
and land that requires planning permission. However
all land within the control or ownership of the
applicant should be shown and edged with a blue line.

Planning Performance Agreement charter

July 2012

Issues to be considered in any Planning Application

a) Landscape and Visual Impact
The nature of the anaerobic digestion process usually involves the installation and
operation of infrastructure which is of an industrial nature typically consisting of four
types of structures;

Storage for incoming feedstock

The anaerobic digestion plant

Electrical generating plant room

Storage for digestate

Picture courtesy of WRAP and Lower Reule Farm

Anaerobic digestion plants have been developed in a variety of locations, including
established industrial estates, food processing facilities, waste water treatment works
and in association with agricultural units. Each location will present different design
and landscaping challenges. Development proposed should generally reflect the
character and setting of the particular area and existing land uses, although iconic
designs may be acceptable where it is considered that they do not detract from the
character of the local area. Development should aim to achieve a high standard of
design and landscaping and an understanding of the character of the Cornish
landscape is essential.
The context of the surrounding area needs to be taken into account in order to reflect
the local character in the final design and landscaping of the facility. Views of a
development will have a greater perceived impact in publicly accessible and residential
areas. In existing industrial or degraded areas, or areas with restricted public access,
the impact will generally be less significant.
Different places have different landscape character. Landscape character is the
distinct, recognisable and consistent pattern of elements that occur in a particular
landscape and how these are perceived. It reflects particular combinations of
geology, landform, soils, vegetation, land use and human settlement. Understanding
a landscapes character is key to ensuring new development can be accommodated
successfully within a landscape.
Landscape Character Areas in Cornwall

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The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Landscape Character Assessment (2007) records the
variations in landscape character across Cornwall, identifying 40 Landscape Character
Areas (LCAs). The character area information of any development site can be
accessed through the Cornwall Council web site at The map below shows the various
Landscape Character Areas.

Cornwall is made up of a range of landscapes with a rich diversity of heritage and

natural assets it is important to understand the character of the landscape and how
development might affect this character. Once an understanding of the qualities of
the existing landscape has been established it is then possible to determine the
sensitivity of the landscape to change and whether the landscape has the capacity to
accept differing types of development.
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
Areas of high scenic quality within Cornwall are recognised through landscape
designations. Landscapes of distinctive natural beauty are protected by Area of
Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) status.
The Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is comprised of 12 discrete and
separate areas, including Bodmin Moor, the Camel Estuary and sections of the north
and south coast and covers an area of 958 km2. The Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding
Natural Beauty covers the Tamar Valley estuary and its inland rivers both in Cornwall
and Devon. Over 30% of Cornwall is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural
Beauty, as indicated in the map below.


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The purpose of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty designation is to conserve and
enhance the natural beauty of the area. The designation gives formal recognition to
an areas landscape importance and allows for the development of communities and
economic activity.
The Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty designation is not necessarily a constraint on
renewable energy development. Developments are encouraged provided that they do
not have a significant adverse impact on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The
Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Management Plan5 sets out policies for
the management of the AONB. To find out if the proposed site is located within an
AONB see
Site Selection
In order to minimise the landscape and visual impact of a proposed anaerobic
digestion facility the following points should be considered at the initial stages of site
identification, layout and design;

Avoid the most sensitive landscape areas where possible

Choose a site that is naturally screened by virtue of existing topography or

mature vegetation/trees

Consider locations in association with main road corridors, business parks,

railways etc as well as reclaimed, industrial and man-made landscapes where
other landscape sensitivities are not compromised

Avoid locations which compromise important viewpoints especially at popular

tourist destinations or along scenic routes

Appropriate design, colour, scale and texture of buildings (see section B) are
vital to prevent adverse impact on landscape character

Reduce the height of the proposed facility by excavation or partial burying

Quality landscaping and boundary treatment (see section C) can reduce the
landscape and visual impact of the proposed development


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Avoid impact on existing important landmark features such as church spires

and towers.

Planning applications for anaerobic digestion facilities should be accompanied by a

photomontage to demonstrate both long and short distance views of the existing site,
both with and without the proposed development.
A Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) may be required to accompany
planning applications for certain anaerobic digestion plants; however the detail and
extent of these assessments will vary depending upon the nature and location of the
proposed development. The local planning authority cannot specify the level of
information required to accompany all planning application types because such
applications will vary in their characteristics. A reputable planning consultant or
landscape architect should be able to provide these services. However in general
terms smaller scale anaerobic digestion plants which are proposed in landscapes
which are not sensitive for their visual and landscape interest will not normally require
a Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment whereas larger anaerobic digestion plants
in sensitive and/or protected areas e.g. Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty may
require a Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment.

 Planning Application Information Requirement Checklist

The local planning authority expects the following details to be included within any
planning application:

Information on the Landscape Character Area (LCA) and an assessment of the

impact of the proposed development on the key characteristics of this.

Professional photomontages from agreed viewpoints.

A Landscape Visual Impact Assessment, where necessary.


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Case Study 1:
Penare Farm, Fraddon, Cornwall
Ref; NR08/00389/WSENV

Penare Farm, owned and operated by EH and D Dymond and Son, is the largest pig farm in
Cornwall, with up to 1,000 breeding sows. The site occupies a rural location at Higher Fraddon,
but within close proximity to a row of cottages. As a result of market and legislative pressures
the site operators sought to sustain the farming enterprise with the provision of an anaerobic
digestion facility which would be used to co-treat approximately 14,000 tonnes per year of pig
manure and imported bakery/brewery waste. The proposed development involved the
construction of an access road, reception building, anaerobic digester, digestate storage tank,
biofilter and associated landscaping. Gas produced in the digester would primarily be used for
combustion in a Combined Heat and Power unit to produce renewable electricity and heat,
generating approximately 6,900MW hours per year of renewable electricity.
Issues & Mitigation
Landscape & Visual Impact
The application site involved a field adjacent to the existing piggery unit. The construction of the
anaerobic digestion facility would involve considerable excavation works, a cut and fill
operation enabling the facility to be partially set into the ground with surplus spoil being used to
construct a landscaped screening mound. The scheme was designed to minimise operational
impacts on visual amenity and the landscape. A colour scheme was carefully selected to further
reduce the landscape and visual impact of proposed structures and a lighting scheme was
designed to avoid light spillage.
Dispersion modelling was undertaken to determine the potential for odour arisings. This
modelling showed that the odour emissions from the existing pig farming operation were high
and that, once operational, the anaerobic digestion facility, with its enclosed digestion tanks and
associated biofilter, would have a beneficial impact on odours in the area and that, subject to
the adoption of an Odour Management Plan, there should be no significant issues.
The local highway network is of variable width and serves a number of residential properties in
Higher Fraddon. While the width and alignment of the highway network was not ideally suited to
the development of a large scale anaerobic digestion facility it was apparent that, given the
existing and proposed traffic flows to the site, there would be a reduction in traffic movements
for the site with an operational anaerobic digestion facility when compared with the current
situation. A Construction Management Plan would identify particular peak construction episodes
and local residents would be kept informed in order to minimise the impact on their amenity.
Case update
Planning permission for the anaerobic digestion facility at Penare Farm was granted in March
2009. The planning permission has yet to be implemented although preliminary demolition
works and site clearance has been undertaken in advance of the development. An extension of
time application has been submitted and is awaiting determination. .


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b) Design of Buildings
Design is a key consideration when choosing the setting and layout of an anaerobic
digestion facility. It is important that any adverse visual impact is minimised and that,
where practicable, such development should make a positive contribution, in
landscape and visual terms, to a locality.
The industrial nature of the anaerobic digestion process dictates the scale and shape
of the associated buildings, however, if sensitively located and designed with
appropriate finishes and colours, the plant need not be unattractive. The local
planning authority would expect to see high design standards applied to any proposed
anaerobic digestion plant including;

The colour and external finish of any new plant/buildings should compliment
any existing buildings.

If located adjacent to existing farm buildings, the new buildings should have
similar profile roofing/cladding and use sympathetic colours such as greys and

If located in an urban/industrial area there may be scope for a more iconic

design that could enhance the area rather than copy existing designs.

Where feasible reuse/convert existing buildings to accommodate the anaerobic

digestion process, including the generator plant room.

The scale and heights of anaerobic digestion plant should, where possible, be
comparable with nearby buildings.

The use of quality materials and finishes will not only improve the appearance
of anaerobic digestion plant but will reduce future maintenance costs and
ensure buildings will not become dishevelled in the near future.

Design solutions should be sensitive to the locality.

Holsworth anaerobic digestion facility in Devon. The colour scheme adopted to reduce visual

 Planning Application Information Requirement Checklist

The Local Planning Authority expects the following details to be included with any
planning application;
A location plan (1:1250 metric scale),
A site/block plan (1:500 metric scale),

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Photomontage of plant building and stack,

Details of any buildings proposed,
A design and access statement.

c) Landscaping and Boundary Treatment of Site

The use of appropriate landscaping can alter the near and distant views of an
anaerobic digestion facility. Depending on the location of the plant issues of site
security may be a priority or preventing livestock entering could also be important.
Any application would need to justify these issues and propose solutions. The Council
expects the following guidance to be considered in the preparation of any planning

Where ground needs to be excavated the material that is removed could be

used as bunding to provide a natural boundary or screening for the buildings
or structures;

If excavated material is not suitable, or not needed for bunding, its reused or

Bunding can be planted with locally indigenous trees and bushes to provide
additional appropriate screening and weather protection;

Where planting is proposed a schedule of plant species/heights/spacing and

maintenance should be submitted with any planning application;

Where livestock is likely to be adjacent to the anaerobic digestion facility any

hedging or fencing should be similar to that found in the locality;

Cornish hedging is encouraged but it should be of the local style appropriate

to that part of Cornwall and be built of the correct stone. Cornwall Council has
produced The Cornish Building Stone and Slate Guide6 which will help locate
local stone;

If located on an industrial site fencing and/or boundary walls should be of a

scale and type suitable to that location;

Fencing and/or boundary walls should be constructed of quality materials that

require little future maintenance and, where appropriate, these should be rust
protected to prevent becoming unsightly in the future;

The use of electrified fencing or barbed wire or similar would not normally be

 Planning Application Information Requirement Checklist

The Local Planning Authority expects the following details to be included with any
planning application;
Schedule of planning including species, heights, spacing and maintenance
where planting is proposed;

Information on the type of landscaping proposed;

Details of any boundary fencing, hedging or walling.

d) Traffic Movements and Access to Site

The construction and operation of an anaerobic digestion facility may generate
significant vehicle movements and there is a need to ensure that the local highway


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network and site access is able to accommodate the type and number of vehicle
movements. A traffic management plan may need to be prepared in order to avoid
unnecessary local traffic disruption. The traffic management plan should seek to
include measures such as:

Avoidance of HGV deliveries during local peak/school traffic periods;

Temporary traffic management systems for site access;
Reduced speed limits on all identified routes to reduce potential of traffic

The site entrance and access onto the public highway should be carefully designed
and constructed to provide safe access and egress to the site. It is essential to take
advice from the county highways officer regarding such matters. A planning
application may need to be accompanied by a Traffic Assessment. Important issues to
consider within a Traffic Assessment are:

Avoiding sensitive areas, such as residential access roads if possible;

The width, gradient and distance from other junctions and road features;
The speed limits;
Current (surveyed) and predicted traffic flows on the public highway, including
predicted daily movements to and from the site, broken down by vehicle types,
over the length of a working day.

These will affect the visibility splays and length of sight lines required.
Additionally the local planning authority would expect the following to be considered:

The use, or widening, of an existing site/field access should be considered

where appropriate and aiming to achieve a high standard of access
commensurate with the character and style of the local area;

All vehicles leaving the site shall have clean wheels to avoid spreading of mud
or debris on the highway and therefore a wheel wash facility may be required,
with good drainage and maintenance features, located at the side of the site
access road at least 30m from the junction with the public highway. The site
access road should be hard surfaced and sweepable between the wheel wash
and the public highway. The site access should, where possible, be designed to
avoid surface water flowing out onto the public highway;

Adequate visibility splays onto the highway for traffic entering and leaving the

Avoid vehicle movements, especially HGVs, at critical times such as local school
opening and closing times, special local events such as carnivals or sporting

Voluntary reduced speed limits of lorries on all identified known dangerous

routes to reduce potential of traffic accidents;

Where abnormal loads need to be brought to the site a traffic management plan
may need to be produced. The Council provides advice for the movement of
abnormal loads and should be contacted via;

Signage directing traffic to and from the site from the main routes should be
agreed in advance with the Councils Highway officers before the construction
and operation of the site to avoid lorries travelling on unsuitable roads at
inappropriate times such as school pick-up period;


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Signage to be designed and located so as not to be visually intrusive in the local

area especially if in a designated landscape.

 Planning Application Information Requirement Checklist

The Local Planning Authority expects the following details to be included with any
planning application;
Traffic assessment.


July 2012

Case Study 2;
Sharps Brewery Limited,
Rock, Cornwall
Ref: 10/00024/WAS

The Sharps Brewery is located on a small trading estate, Pityme Business Centre,
approximately 1km north east of Rock and within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The
Brewery was founded in 1994 and has become one of the largest cask beer brewers in the
South West. Effluent from the brewing process was predominantly pumped to the main
sewer, applying pressure on the sewerage network and incurring cost to the company. The
Brewery therefore proposed the installation of an anaerobic waste water treatment plant,
treating their effluent to a high standard before discharge to a South West Water facility. The
process would generate methane, which would be harnessed and used as a renewable energy
source within the boiler which serves the brewing process. The development would involve
the installation of an anaerobic digester tank, plant building, biogas flare and associated
Issues & Mitigation
Landscape & Visual Impact
The construction of a large structure within the Camel Estuary Area of Outstanding Natural
Beauty required careful design and consideration. The proposed anaerobic digester would be
incorporated on a previously developed parking area, located within the Sharps Brewery unit
and set against a background of existing commercial buildings and silos. The proposed
structure would also be finished in a moss green colour to further minimise the visual and
landscape impact and additional landscape screening would be added to the site.
The anaerobic digestion process involves the digestion of waste by bacteria and has the
potential to cause odour. The digester tank itself would be sealed and maintained under
negative pressure in order to prevent the release of odours and good management of the
facility should ensure that malodours do not arise and potentially prejudice neighbouring
With any item of plant there is the potential for noise. In this instance noise could be
generated from the anaerobic digester, biogas blower or biogas flare. However, the anaerobic
treatment plant and ancillary development has been carefully designed and sited to safeguard
against noise impacts. In the absence of specific noise data a precautionary approach was
adopted by attaching a noise condition to the planning permission which restricted noise
levels from the site. Consequently it was considered that neighbouring amenity would not be
adversely affected by noise from the proposal.
Case update
Planning permission for the anaerobic digestion facility at Sharps Brewery was granted in
May 2010. The facility has been constructed and is now operational.


July 2012

e) Vehicle Movement and Parking on Site

The site has to function internally whilst not causing any external vehicle problems in
the local area and therefore the following issues need to be addressed by the operator
of the anaerobic digestion facility:

Suitable parking spaces and manoeuvring areas within the site for operational,
employees and visitors vehicles;

Adequate vehicle turning and manoeuvring arrangements within the site during
plant operation;

Waiting area for feedstock lorries within site to prevent lorries stacking up and
having to queue or park on the public highway causing a potential hazard;

Schedule of lorry movements and type of activity for 24 hour period on site to
be submitted with any planning application to ensure no adverse impact on
neighbouring uses particularly at night and early morning.

 Planning Application Information Requirement Checklist

The Local Planning Authority expects the following details to be included with any
planning application;
Traffic management plan including a schedule of vehicle movements and
activities over a 24 hour period on site,
Site plan showing transport management including vehicle turning and
manoeuvring areas.

f) Emissions, Odour and Air Quality

The delivery and storage of feedstock, the anaerobic digestion process and the
removal and storage of digestate can all potentially contribute to unacceptable odour
and air quality around the site if not properly managed.
Odour Control
The control of odours starts with routine maintenance of plant and equipment; and
locating sources of odour as far as practicable from the site boundary and any
sensitive receptors. An Odour Management Plan should be prepared for any site with a
significant risk of odorous emissions. This Odour Management Plan formalises
operative training and procedures e.g. correct use of plant/process/materials; checks
on plant performance, maintenance and inspection.
Dust Control
Dust can potentially be a significant issue at waste management sites because of its
possible effects on human health and also the nuisance that it can cause. Dust is
defined as particulate matter less than 63 microns in diameter. Particles with a
diameter less than 10 microns (known as PM10) have the potential to travel the
furthest distance. The sometimes dry and often windy climate of Cornwall may
exacerbate dust issues. However, the careful design and operation of an anaerobic
digestion facility can prevent significant dust impacts arising.
One of the principle mechanisms for reducing the generation of dust is to operate
within a negative pressure building. This means that air is drawn into the building,
especially into areas where the waste is handled, which minimises the risk of dust
Dust can also be generated from the passage of vehicles. The cleanliness of site
access roads and, where appropriate, wheel washing facilities and the
sheeting/containment of vehicles can minimise the generation of dust.

July 2012

 Planning Application Information Requirement Checklist

The Local Planning Authority expects the following details to be included with any
planning application;
How feedstock is sealed on delivery vehicles to minimise the release or
escape of odour;

Type(s) of feedstock being used and its source,

How are all buildings sealed and ventilated,

Is a negative pressure system being used within the buildings,

When feedstock is being transferred to reception building is the building

sealed and how is that building ventilated,

Method of feedstock being passed to anaerobic digestion plant,

Method of digestate being extracted from anaerobic digestion plant and

stored for future use,

Mitigation methods to prevent odour from stored digestate causing

unacceptable smell in the surrounding area particularly if there are
residential properties in the vicinity.

Method of process to remove digestate from site and how and where it is to
be used.

Monitoring regime to ensure odour control is always in place when the

anaerobic digestion plant is operational.

What measures and storage capacity exist for periods of unscheduled failure
of the anaerobic digestion plant.

Back up plan if odour control fails or does not prevent unacceptable smells
effecting persons outside of the site.

g) Pest Control
The careful design and operation of an anaerobic digestion facility can significantly
reduce any nuisance which may be caused by the presence of flies, vermin and birds.
The design and operation of an anaerobic digestion facility should be undertaken in a
manner which facilitates and promotes all unloading, processing and loading of waste,
feedstock and residue within a controlled environment and minimises the time that
waste is left unprocessed. There should be regular inspections and treatment by pest
control specialists. Rodenticides and insecticides can also be used as well as grates
covering drainage systems to prevent rodents entering buildings.
Organic waste, if stored in the open, will attract a variety of insects, birds and animals
depending on the time of the year. Organic waste should therefore be stored in
sealed areas.

 Planning Application Information Requirement Checklist

The Local Planning Authority expects the following details to be included with any
planning application;
Details of the manner of sealing of lorries and waste containers in order to
prevent the spillage of materials and escape of odour during transit and whilst
on site to prevent attracting vermin.

Details of sealing methods on all vehicular and pedestrian entrances to all

buildings associated with the anaerobic digestion process.

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The methods of vermin/pest control in place during anaerobic digestion plant

operation and servicing periods.

The monitoring and reporting regime to ensure pest control is effective.

Details of the cleaning practices and facilities for vehicles especially feedstock
and digestate carrying lorries leaving the site.

General refuse arrangements and storage facilities for all activities on the site.

h) Noise
A typical anaerobic digestion plant will operate on a 24 hours, 7 days of the week
basis. Such operational hours/days have the potential to cause unacceptable impact
on sensitive receptors such as residential properties or schools particularly at night or
early morning. The major source of noise will be from lorry movements both entering
and leaving the site and unloading of feedstock and removal of digestate. The
mechanical noise from the anaerobic digestion process will normally be limited to that
of electric motors driving pumps and ventilation systems and, if properly maintained
and sound proofed, should not normally cause a noise complaint. If applicable the
following measures could reduce any potential noise impact;

All operations to be undertaken within closed buildings.

Buildings designed to reduce internal noise transmission.

All plant to be designed with noise reduction measures such as external motors
housed in sound proofed covers.

Site designed with acoustic barriers such as bunding, planting and fencing.

All vehicles servicing the site be properly maintained especially including

exhaust systems.

Vehicle reversing warning systems to be visual rather than audible when on site
if close to sensitive noise receptors.

Noise monitoring regime in place if sensitive receptors such as housing are


 Planning Application Information Requirement Checklist

The Local Planning Authority expects the following details to be included with any
planning application;

A plan identifying the location of the proposed anaerobic digestion facility, with
respect to noise-sensitive receptors;
A table, detailing the separation distance between the proposed anaerobic
digestion facility and noise-sensitive receptors;
Noise emission data for the proposed anaerobic digestion facility;
Auditable predictions to determine noise levels arising from the anaerobic
digestion facility at the closest noise-sensitive receptors;
Noise assessment.

i) Security Fencing/Lighting
Applicants will be expected to direct considerable effort towards minimising the
landscape/visual impact of an anaerobic digestion facility. Whilst there is an
acknowledged need to ensure that such facilities are adequately secured it would be
unfortunate if such security measures resulted in an unacceptable landscape/visual
impact. Applicants should:

July 2012

minimise the use and height of security fencing;

utilise existing features, such as Cornish hedges or landscaping, to screen
security fencing;
use natural features, such as vegetation planting, to assist in site security; and
minimise the use of security lighting. Any lighting such utilise a passive infrared (PIR) technology and should be designed and installed in a manner which
minimises glare, light pollution and impacts on biodiversity, in particular bats
(see ecology section).

A lighting scheme needs to comply with current Health and Safety Regulations and,
increasingly, take account of the need to reduce light pollution. Light pollution is any
form of artificial light which shines outside the area it needs to illuminate, including
light that is directed above the horizontal into the night sky creating sky glow (which
impedes our views of the stars), or which creates a danger by glare. The Health &
Safety at Work Act requires that all electrical installations are subject to a routine
maintenance programme.
Planning permission is required for lighting if it alters the material appearance of a
building. Local authorities consider lighting as part of the planning process for new
buildings, and can regulate lighting under planning permission, setting planning
obligations for lighting to prevent light pollution. Lighting strategies should be
designed to provide the necessary security while avoiding adverse impacts. Where
possible, light should be subtle to enhance the buildings and structures and reduce
the impact of operational light sources. Use of low energy lighting should also be a
consideration. There is also potential ecological disturbance caused by light pollution,
such as disturbance of bird species.
For security, operational and general health and safety requirements lighting will be
required on all anaerobic digestion plants. Depending on the location (rural or urban
area) and/or the neighbours the issue of light spillage from the site will be more
sensitive in some locations than others. However it is good practise to reduce light
pollution and reduce energy consumption by only using lighting when required. The
Institution of Lighting Engineers7 provides guidance on reducing obtrusive light (light
The following lighting measures should be considered:

Where possible, selected lighting circuits will be operated on timer switches /

motion detectors to enable lower levels of lighting outside of normal operating
hours or when lighting is not required;
The design of this lighting will be undertaken to ensure that light is directed
downwards towards the ground so as to avoid unnecessary light spill and light
trespass off site;
Avoid permanent lighting on edge of site particularly at access points that front
the public highway;
Use of planting and bunding to contain lighting effects;
Review of lighting impacts after installation;
No distraction to the public highway;
Ensure no dwellings are impacted by light source from site.

 Planning Application Information Requirement Checklist



July 2012

The Local Planning Authority expects the following details to be included with any
planning application;

A plan identifying the extent and design (including maximum height) of any
fencing proposed;
A plan showing the location and height of any external lighting proposed, and
the days/hours when such lighting would be illuminated.

j) Agriculture
The quality of agricultural land varies throughout England and is defined by the
Agricultural Land Classification (ALC) system. This is a method of classifying land into
five grades (Grade 3 is sub-divided into grades 3a and 3b). The 'best and most
versatile' agricultural land is defined as grades 1, 2 and 3a by Government policy. This
is the land which is most flexible, productive and efficient.
Approximately 10% of the agricultural land in Cornwall is considered to be of a quality
regarded as 'best and most versatile' agricultural land. By comparison it is estimated
that in England over 40% of farmland is considered to be 'best and most versatile'
agricultural land. Therefore, it is apparent that, high grade agricultural land is scarcer
in Cornwall than in many other parts of England. The proposed development of an
anaerobic digestion facility should therefore avoid higher grade agricultural land where
possible and any application for development affecting agricultural land should provide
details about the impact of the development on that land including any mitigation
measures and reclamation proposals.
Any application involving agricultural land should give consideration at the design
stage to the stripping and storage of soils (see section K).

 Planning Application Information Requirement Checklist

If the application site is currently in agricultural use the local planning authority
expects the following information to be submitted with any planning application;

An Agricultural Land Classification study, showing the grade of agricultural land

which would be affected by the proposed development. Where the affected land
is best and most versatile agricultural land (grades 1, 2 and 3a) an explanation
should be provided detailing why the development needs to be located on the
site and not on land of a lesser agricultural classification within the agricultural

k) Soil Stripping, Storage and Replacement

For the development of anaerobic digestion plants and the associated infrastructure,
such as lagoons, the soil will not normally be used on the site again unless suitable for
bunding (see section C). The anaerobic digestion plant will be a permanent facility and
therefore soil that needs to be removed should be stored or reused in an appropriate
If soil is to be stored it is best to avoid putting soil into store during winter months as
the soil could be too wet to be handled without being damaged. The storage piles
should have slope angles between 25 and 45, be sited on dry ground, not in hollows
and should not disrupt local surface drainage. Large areas may be required for storage
and this area will increase with the number of different separately stored soil types.
Soil should only be stored upon soil of the same type, therefore subsoil piles require
topsoil to be removed before tipping for example. A soil storage mound should be
shaped to shed water before rainfall occurs. Space should be available between the

July 2012

boundary and the soil piles to ensure access for maintenance, and for drainage
measures. Soil piles should be covered with light coloured, weighted down, tarpaulins
which will reduce both water absorption and the amount of viable seeds of weeds.

 Planning Application Information Requirement Checklist

The Local Planning Authority expects the following details to be included with any
planning application;
Details of any soil stripping, movement, storage and replacement.

l) Water Management
Although Cornwall is known for its temperate, maritime climate some of the steep
valleys and lowland areas are subject to flash floods. Groundwater is a vital element
of the natural water cycle which helps to sustain rivers and wetlands in times of
drought, and is a source for some of our drinking water. Cornwall has no major
aquifers but water can be abstracted from groundwater sources for private water
Pollution from the surface can take a long time to travel through the ground to reach
groundwater, however, once polluted, it is difficult to remediate. The location of an
anaerobic digestion facility needs to be considered in terms of its impact on surface
and groundwater as well as potential risks from flooding.
Climate change over the next few decades is likely to result in different weather
patterns and conditions in the UK. In addition, sea levels are expected to rise. These
factors may lead to increased and new risks of flooding within the lifetime of planned
anaerobic digestion developments and this may need to be considered as part of Flood
Risk Assessment.
Therefore the proposed location of an anaerobic digestion plant must consider the
following factors;

The distances from the boundary of the site to residential and recreational
areas, waterways, water bodies and other agricultural or urban sites.
The existence of groundwater, coastal water or nature protection zones in the
The geological or hydro-geological conditions in the area.
The risk of flooding or subsidence on the site.

 Planning Application Information Requirement Checklist

The Local Planning Authority expects the following details to be included with any
planning application;

A Flood Risk Assessment containing appropriate information appropriate to the

scale and location of the proposed development.
Detail of how any foul water and surface water drainage arising from the
proposed development would be managed.

m) Public Rights of Way

Public rights of way include footpaths, bridleways and byways open to all traffic. There
are 4,357km (2,706 miles) of public rights of way in Cornwall including 491km (305
miles) of South West Coast Path.


July 2012

It is an offence to obstruct a pavement (footway) and the fact that planning

permission has been granted, or is not required, does not entitle a developer to
obstruct, interfere or move a Public Right of Way.
The Definitive Map and Statement is the legal record of public footpaths, bridleways
and byways and can be viewed via the Councils
A development may impact upon a right of way and a diversion or temporary
stoppage may be required. Under the provisions of the Wildlife and Countryside Act
1981, a Modification Order may be applied for to re-grade or delete an existing right
of way. It is recommended that discussions take place with the Countryside Access
Team (0300 1234 202 or at the earliest opportunity to
discuss possible impacts on any public right of way. It is also recommended that
discussions are undertaken with a planning officer at the Council if any action is
Where there is a public vantage point or public right of way within the vicinity of the
proposed site it may be beneficial to install interpretation boards to explain the

 Planning Application Information Requirement Checklist

The Local Planning Authority expects the following details to be included with any
planning application;
A plan should be submitted showing the location of any public rights of way
within the vicinity of the proposed development. Where the proposed
development would have an impact on a public right of way any mitigation
measures (such as landscape screening) or proposed diversions (temporary or
permanent) should be detailed.

n) Site Safety
The Health and Safety Executive can provide much advice on these matters as does
the Environment Agency via its permitting regime. However many accidents are
caused by moving vehicles and to reduce risk the following measures should be

restrict vehicle speed through the use of speed humps, traffic-calming and
speed limit signs,
segregate people and vehicles through clear signage and direction, the use of
one-way systems, specific parking or pedestrian areas
minimise the need for reversing through the use of one-way systems
ensure adequate lighting on site and that all employees and visitors wear high
visibility/safety clothing

o) Ecology
Anaerobic digestion plants may be proposed on, or in close proximity to designated
areas of special ecologic interest. Such locations in Cornwall may contain some of the
most important and sensitive habitats and species, some of which are legally
protected. There is a need to ensure any potentially significant or damaging effects on
these habitats and species are avoided or minimised. The Cornwall Mapping Service identifies sites of high and protected ecological value
such as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, or a Special Area of Conservation, or a

July 2012

Cornwall Nature Conservation (County Wildlife Site). The National Planning Policy
Framework states that valued landscapes should be protected and enhanced and
adverse impacts on the local and natural environment should be minimised. It also
goes on to state that protection should be commensurate with the designations status
and the contribution it makes to wider ecological networks. The National Planning
Policy Framework also notes that planning permissions should be refused if significant
harm on biodiversity resulting from the development cannot be mitigated or
The map below shows Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Special Protection Area
(SPA) and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) within Cornwall.

The information to be submitted with a planning application will need to demonstrate,

through an ecological assessment that no harm would be caused to such sites. Where
potential impacts cannot be avoided any mitigation measures proposed should be
clearly outlined. This may present an opportunity for habitat enhancement and/or
habitat re-creation which could be set out in a habitat management plan.
The Biological and Geological Conservation: Planning Good Practice Guidance for
Cornwall (2007)8 provides advice on how to take account of biodiversity and
geodiversity in the development process. It also sets out legal requirements and good
practice recommendations.
Provision of adequate data, surveys (completed at the appropriate time of the year)
and where possible avoidance of sites containing protected species/habitats will help
reduce the time required to determine any planning application. Some of these
ecological surveys can only be undertaken at specific times of the year (e.g. when the
animal is active and not dormant). The chart below, provided by Cornwall
Environmental Consultants Ltd, outlines the seasons when particular surveys should,
and should not, be undertaken.


July 2012

Source: Cornwall Environmental Consultants Ltd

Careful consideration should be given to the seasonality of ecological surveys as the

need to undertake a particular survey can have a significant impact on the
preparation, submission and determination of a planning application.
Impacts of the development on ecology can be mitigated by;
Retaining key ecological features within the site design. Features should be
large enough to be self-sustaining or linked to similar habitats outside the
development e.g. by hedgerows,
Constructing of wildlife features such as bunding, screening and wildlife-proof
Rescuing or translocation of individual plants or animals to an alternative site,
Restoring the site once development has ceased,
Enhancing existing habitats or the creation of new habitats on land set aside for
that purpose, or on land outside the proposed development.

 Planning Application Information Requirement Checklist

The Local Planning Authority expects the following details to be included with any
planning application;
The ecological impact of the proposed development on the development site,
and any nearby designated areas of special ecological interest, should be

p) Historic Environment
The potential impact of an anaerobic digestion plant on Cornwalls cultural heritage
(listed buildings, Scheduled Monuments, Conservation Areas, World Heritage Site,
registered Historic Landscapes and Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest) can
be defined in two ways;
1. Direct physical impact or loss of identified features of historic interest including
undiscovered archaeology.

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2. Visual impact on the character or appearance and setting of features of

historic interest.
Anaerobic digestion plants may cause direct impacts on archaeological deposits
through ground disturbance associated with trenching, foundations, fencing, new
access routes etc. Generally sites should be located away from known archaeological
sites as recorded on the Cornwall Historic Environment Record these can be located
online using
Where planning applications are received within known archaeologically sensitive
locations, the Council is likely to seek professional archaeological monitoring of ground
works as a condition of any planning permission.
Anaerobic digestion plants should normally be located away from Scheduled
Monuments and from sites or areas where they would affect the character or setting
of a Listed Building.
Visual impacts on historic sites may include the effects of such development on the
setting of Listed Buildings and Scheduled Monuments as well as on the Historic
Landscape Character of Cornwall. Assessment of such impacts may be more involved
than simply noting the presence of such assets on or close to a proposed site
consultation with the relevant area Historic Environment advice teams is essential.
Photomontages and Zone of Theoretical Visibility (ZTV) will inform this advice.
The landscape/visual impact must be considered with great care at the pre-application
stage, where appropriate the Councils Landscape Architects and the Historic
Environment Service should be consulted at an early stage and mitigation measures
proposed wherever necessary.
Existing Cornish hedges and established vegetation, including mature trees, should be
retained wherever possible. Trees and hedges should be protected during
construction. Additional hedge planting should be considered where such landscape
screening would beneficially screen the proposed development.
Cornwall has an especially important historic environment and there are 12,500 Listed
Buildings within Cornwall (details of these buildings may be found at There are also 145
Conservation Areas in Cornwall covering 4070 hectares of land. These areas have
been designated due to their special architectural or historic interest and the
installation of anaerobic digestion plants in, or near, such areas should therefore be
considered sensitively. In addition over 5% of Cornwall is designated as a World
Heritage Site (WHS). The World Heritage Site is designated for its mining heritage.
The World Heritage Site is not necessarily a constraint on renewable energy
development; however such development within, or adjacent to, the World Heritage
Site must be designed and installed in a manner which does not harm the values of
the site. To find out if you are in any of these areas please visit on the Council website.

 Planning Application Information Requirement Checklist

The Local Planning Authority expects the following details to be included with any
planning application;
An archaeological assessment is required for sites which may have an impact
on any site of known or suspected archaeological interest.


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An assessment is also required where any proposal may have an impact on the
character or setting of a Listed Building, Conservation Area, Scheduled
Monument or World Heritage Site.

q) Grid Connection
Application proposals should provide a broad indication of the route of connectivity to
the electrical grid. Such details are not strictly necessary in order for any planning
application to be validated or registered but this information is required to confirm
that such connectivity would avoid areas of high ecological, landscape or
archaeological sensitivity.

 Planning Application Information Requirement Checklist

The Local Planning Authority expects the following details to be included with any
planning application;
Details of how the facility would connect to the electrical grid network and
whether such connection would be above or below ground. Such works do not
need to be encapsulated within the planning application boundary, or planning
fee, but such details should be provided for information purposes.


Community Involvement and Engagement

Community involvement and engagement should be considered as an integral part of

the development process. The extent of this engagement will depend upon the size,
nature and location of the proposed development although developers are advised to
discuss their proposal with neighbours and nearby residents at the pre-design,
conceptual stage in order to allow any views to be taken into account prior to the
submission of a formal planning application.

The use of interpretation and display boards, such as these examples at Delabole Wind Farm and the Wheal Jane Solar Farm, to explain the
purpose and function of an anaerobic digestion plant and raise awareness about renewable energy and waste management is something
that developers may wish to consider.


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Appendix A: Electricity and heat generating capacity

Planning applications for anaerobic digestion facilities should be accompanied by the
following information.

(kW) 1

factor 2

(kWh p.a.) 3

Number of
equivalent 4



Installed capacity is the full-load, continuous rating of generating equipment under

specific conditions as designated by the manufacturer. In other words, this is the
power generated when the equipment is working at full capacity.

Capacity factor is the calculated factor which compares the plant's actual production
over a given period of time with the amount of power the plant would have produced
if it had run at full capacity for the same amount of time. The capacity factor should
take account of the specific equipment and the specific location. It is expressed as a

Estimated annual production of electricity based upon the installed capacity and the
capacity factor.

Number of residential properties that would be powered by the estimated annual

production based upon the U.K. average household consumption of 4,629
KWh/year, the South West England average household consumption of 4,993
KWh/year and the Cornwall average household consumption of 5,869 KWh/year
(DECC 2007). The number of U.K., SW and Cornwall household equivalent should
be provided in this box. Average electricity consumption in Cornwall is currently
greater than the U.K. and SW average and so the number of typical residential
properties in Cornwall powered by a particular source would be lower.


July 2012

Appendix B: Environment Agency Environmental Permitting Regulations

The anaerobic digestion of waste must be undertaken in accordance with either an
Environmental Permit or lawful exemption from the need to hold a permit.
The exemption for on-farm anaerobic digestion allows the receipt of plant tissue waste
and horse and farmyard manure only, provided the total quantity of waste treated or
stored at any one time does not exceed 1,250m3, the minimum retention time in the
digester is 28 days and any biogas is burnt in an appliance with a net rated thermal
input of less than 0.4MW for the purposes of producing energy.
The exemption for off-farm anaerobic digestion allows the receipt of plant tissue
waste, horse and farmyard manure, paper and cardboard, biodegradable kitchen and
canteen waste, animal tissue waste, some dairy and baking wastes and biodegradable
waste from markets, provided the total quantity of waste treated or stored at any one
time does not exceed 50m3, the minimum retention time in the digester is 28 days
and any biogas is burnt in an appliance with a net rated thermal input of less than
0.4MW for the purposes of producing energy.
Standard Rules Environmental Permit
A Standard Rules Environmental Permit maybe the best option available for sites that
are too large to meet the terms of an exemption but can still comply with a strict set
of criteria set by the Environment Agency.
A Standard Rules Environmental Permit for on-farm anaerobic digestion can be
applied to farm sites where the total quantity of waste does not exceed 75,000 tonnes
per annum, the anaerobic digestion facility and gas engines are not within 500m of
important nature sites (known as Special Protection Areas, Special Areas of
Conservation and RAMSAR Sites). All waste storage and treatment must not be within
10m of any watercourse or 250m of any spring, well or borehole used for domestic or
food production purposes. Biogas must be burnt in an appliance with a net rated
thermal input of less than 3MW. Permitted waste types comprise sludges, plant tissue
waste and manure from agriculture, horticulture, forestry and fishing and some
wastes from the dairy products industry.
A Standard Rules Environmental Permit for off-farm anaerobic digestion can be
applied to sites that meet a similar set of criteria to those for on-farm Standard Rules
activities, except that the distance to any off site building used by the public must be
250m or greater. There is a significantly greater range of permitted waste types under
off-farm Standard Rules.


July 2012

A Standard Rules Environmental Permit requires the site to be operated in accordance

with a Management System and Accident Risk Assessment that meet Environment
Agency requirements.
Bespoke Environmental Permit Application
Where a site or anaerobic digestion/biogas combustion activities cannot comply with
an exemption or Standard Rules, a Bespoke Environmental Permit will be required.
A Bespoke Environmental Permit Application should be supported by completing and
submitting a quantitative risk assessment, known as H1 Environmental Risk
Assessment, which requires quantification of emissions to all environmental media
(air, land and water) and any impacts that may result.
The application must also include a Non Technical Summary and a Management Plan,
which details the environmental management systems to be used by the operator, a
description of the techniques used to control pollution, waste acceptance and handling
procedures, site protection and monitoring programme, accident risk assessment and
noise assessment. A Best Available Techniques Assessment, air dispersion modelling
and or noise calculations may be required to support the application, depending up on
the circumstances.


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Appendix C: SW Environment Agency Anaerobic Digestion Guidance Note


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Appendix D: Screening Procedures Overview


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Appendix E: Anaerobic Digestion Template Planning Conditions

Please note that these template planning conditions are provided for
information purposes only. This list of planning conditions is not intended to
be exhaustive and Cornwall Council reserves the right to amend these
conditions, or impose additional planning conditions, as required by any
specific planning application.
1. The development hereby approved shall be begun not later than the expiration of
three years beginning with the date of this permission.
Control of Development
2. Unless otherwise agreed in writing with the Waste Planning Authority (WPA), or
required by further conditions below, the development shall take place in strict
accordance with the submitted details and following drawings and details:Drawing XXX (Site layout)
Drawing XXX (Tank and plant room)
Working Hours (Construction Period)
3. Unless otherwise agreed in writing by the WPA, no construction works shall take
place except between the following hours:Between 0800 and 1800 Monday to Fridays inclusive.
Between 0800 and 1300 Saturdays
There shall be no working on Sundays, Bank Holidays or Public Holidays.
Access and Highway Matters
4. Best practicable means shall be employed at all times to ensure that vehicles
leaving the site during construction and operational periods and which enter the public
highway are in a condition such as not to emit dust or deposit mud, slurry or other
Amenity Protection (General)
5. All practicable means shall be employed by the operators for preventing or
minimising the emission of odour and noise during the approved use of the site. The
word practicable and the phrase practicable means in this condition shall have the
meaning assigned to it in Section 79(9) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (as
defined under 2. in the informatives). Vehicles, plant and machinery operating within
the site shall be maintained and fitted with silencers in accordance with
manufacturers specification at all times.
Amenity Protection (Lighting)
6. There shall be no lighting of the approved development areas except in accordance
with details to be agreed in writing with the WPA. Any approved lighting shall be
positioned so as not to cause glare or annoyance to local residents.
Noise Control (Specific)
7. The rating noise level from the approved development shall not exceed a level of
30dB at the noise sensitive receptors closest to the site. Rating noise level and
background noise level shall be determined in accordance with the guidance presented
in British Standard 4142:1997- Method for rating industrial noise affecting mixed
residential and industrial areas. The noise emissions from the site may be measured
near the site and extrapolated to the receptor locations using normal acoustic


July 2012

calculation methods. The methods and noise emission data shall be stated in any
monitoring scheme.
Noise Monitoring
8. A Noise Monitoring Scheme shall be submitted to and be approved in writing by the
WPA prior to the development becoming operational and all monitoring shall be
undertaken in accordance with the approved Noise Monitoring Scheme.
9. Within 3 months from the date of this permission the operators shall have
submitted to and had approved by the WPA:.. Details of proposed bunding (height, width and gradient);
...Details for protection of planting from wildlife;
.. Details of native hedgerow mix including species, density and size;
Failure of any planting within the first five years must be replaced. All planting must
be completed within the first growing season following completion of works.
Amenity Protection (Visual)
10. Prior to the operation of the waste water treatment plant, the operators shall have
painted all the structures and machinery in accordance with the detailed plans.
Thereafter the structures shall be maintained in this colour for the duration of this
Site Restoration
11. Within 3 months from the cessation of the development hereby approved, the
applicant shall have submitted for approval in writing by the WPA, a scheme for the
removal of all buildings, structures, hard-standings, plant and machinery, roadways,
fencing or other structures and equipment brought onto or erected on the land for the
purposes of the development. The scheme shall include details of restoration and a
timescale for completion. The scheme shall be fully implemented within 3 months of
the date of approval.


July 2012