A family firm's plans to build a green generator for its glasshouses may be thwarted by what it has described as a local hate campaign.
Coronation Nursery wants to build the 0.7ha anaerobic digestion plant on its site in Nazeing, Essex, to process 15,000 tonnes of green and food waste a year in a bid to be more sustainable.
The development includes three silos and outbuildings surrounded by existing greenhouses for peppers and cucumbers on the 2.5ha site. Owners Frank and Giuseppe Pullara said they were disappointed to have run into such concerted opposition.
Frank insisted the facility had been designed to ensure environmental risks or potential nuisances such as noise or smells were "successfully managed and mitigated".
He also dismissed rumours that he would use abattoir waste as "scaremongering". Food and garden waste from local authorities would power the plant. He claimed that locals who did not understand his aims were trying to undermine the project.
Frank added that he was surprised that eco-friendly plans for renewable heat and electricity and organic fertiliser had come under fire, especially when governments and supermarkets were giving such prominence to environmental concerns.
"The need for the new facility has arisen because of rising energy costs, concerns over the security of energy availability during periods of peak demand and the belief that this is a sustainable greenhouse concept," he explained.
Essex County Council said a decision was due in the next few weeks. Rejection could have serious implications for the business.
Anaerobic digester Planning dispute
Epping Forest District Council said it would voice several objections to the Coronation Nursery plan. A spokeswoman said: "It's green belt land and glasshouse land and there are concerns with its size and impact on the neighbourhood area."
Coronation Nursery said its mission was to retain horticultural use of the nursery and maintain its future by developing renewable energy that treated local food and horticultural waste to make the business more sustainable.