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MEETING AT BRAINS FARM SITE

GOOD MEETING WITH MARUBENI AND BIOWATT YESTERDAY - UPDATE BELOW


BWKM COMMUNITY ACTION GROUP

 

BRAINS FARM AD PLANT

 

UPDATE

 

Richard Smith, John Tibbs and I had a meeting on 22 February at the Brains Farm site with Martin Uren (Marubeni Europe) and James Lloyd (Biowatt).

 

Headlines:

 

-       The plant is on target for commissioning this year. It will not reach full capacity until next year.

-       There will be feedstock deliveries (grass) at a low level during this growing season starting in May.

-       But the crop feedstock deliveries will not reach full capacity until the 2025 growing season. During the growing season, the plant will not be open 24 hours: deliveries are likely to be possible from 7am – 10pm (for the rest of the year the plant hours will be 7am – 6pm and deliveries only possible then).

-       Biowatt have not yet finalised their contracting strategy. The plan is still to use one local farmer for about 40% of the crop feedstock and an aggregator for the balance. The aggregator will invoice in advance for deliveries and will disclose to Biowatt at that point where the crop is being harvested.

-       About 20% of the feedstock will be manure delivered at a steady rate throughout the year.

-       Marubeni and Biowatt are ready to work with us on enforcement of the vehicle routing strategy and to set out what we and they agree in an exchange of letters. In particular:


o   they are prepared to consider proposals from us for a designation or licencing system (such as a visible yellow dot) to show which agricultural vehicles are permitted to travel to and from the AD plant through our parish[1].


o   They are ready to make available on their website advance details of the timing of harvesting for crop feedstock deliveries including the area from which the feedstock will be sourced. This would allow us to judge when and in what volumes deliveries from and removals to farms south of the A30 might take place (and thus whether we should be on the look-out for breaches).


o   In practice, their enforcement of the routing strategy will be stricter than in the routing strategy. A warning on first offence; on a second offence, a driver would be banned until after re-training; on a third offence a permanent ban. For serious breaches – for instance, endangering a member of the public - a permanent ban on first offence was possible. How this might work in practice could be spelt out in the written agreement between us.


o   They are ready to support any request by us to Dorset Council for signage spelling out “no access to the Brains Farm AD plant” from the A30 and B3081 to roads through our parish.


o   During harvesting periods, they are entitled to put up temporary signage. They will in principle be ready to do so at the points identified above.

 

-       There will be a phone number and email address on the AD plant website (to be launched shortly) to report breaches by drivers to and from the AD plant. Once the website is launched, there will be the opportunity for members of the community to visit the site.

 

-       They are happy for us to write to Dorset Council with a copy of the final draft of the vehicle routing and signage strategy (which they have already sent us). They will be submitting the document formally to Somerset Council before the end of this week.

 

-       The ball is now in the CAG’s court and we should consider what proposals to put to Marubeni and Biowatt about the way forward on the points identified above.

 


[1]The relevant section of the routing strategy reads:

“All HGVs and agricultural vehicles shall avoid the roads through the community clusters of Buckhorn Weston village with the exception of farmers with farms that are supplying the AD plant with materials grown on or returning digestate to the land within or base of farming operations within the boundary of the Parish of Buckhorn Weston, who may use Weston Hill, Church Hill, Weston Street and Templecombe Lane to go west to the route marked green in Figure 4;

All HGVs and agricultural vehicles shall avoid the roads through the community clusters of Kington Magna village with the exception of farmers of farms that are supplying the AD plant with materials grown on or returning digestate to the land within or base of farming operations within the boundary of the parish of Kington Magna, who may use South Street, Chapel Hill, Hartmoor Hill and Weston Street/Templecombe Lane reach the route marked green in Figure 4.”

 

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tractor leaving Weston Street choke point
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