Sample Letters of Objection to Biodigester Input Increase


18/2173/VAR  Variation of conditions 2, 5, 7 and 10 of planning permission 17/0650/VAR to allow increase annual tonnage of crop input from 26,537 to 66,000 tonnes and increase annual tonnage of digestate exported from the site from 21,354 to 56,000 tonnes and vary wording of Odour Management Plan – Enfield Farm Biodigester Oil Mill Lane Clyst St Mary EX5 1AF

The previously approved variation (17/0650/VAR) in October 2017 to treble the number of farms for sourcing crops to Enfield and exporting end-products from 8 to 24 farms over excessively long distances was purportedly to defend against crop failure and not to support a systematic expansion of the high-income energy output. 

This Variation application should be viewed and considered as a parallel application with Application 18/2437/MFUL – Installation of a roof and roller shutter door to existing storage clamp; installation of dome to collect residual gas and installation of digestate processor unit (which has been submitted separately by the Applicants) because the increased infrastructure application results from the increased tonnage application in this variation.

Since 2014 the Applicants have pursued expansion with continuous individual variations (some retrospective) which have camouflaged the overall cumulative growth of this facility and these have already resulted in a substantially sizeable development that now has the capacity to produce over double the approved energy output and although some evolution is supportable, over-development in this village near residential areas is neither acceptable nor sustainable.
Everyone should support the future production of sustainable, environmentally friendly energy production – but approving a small on-farm Anaerobic Digester in Clyst St Mary is entirely inconsistent with approving a huge industrial-sized one and equates to an application for a minor residential extension mushrooming into a large supermarket!
The original approved vision for an environmentally-friendly small, sustainable on-farm digester at Enfield has become lost in the master plan to create a lucrative energy output facility because the necessary massive investment needs to reap huge profits but this is not the correct location for such an overlarge industrial-sized development.

Conditions limiting site size, infrastructure, tonnage, transportation and output have been imposed on Enfield anaerobic digester applications to protect the amenities of local residents and control over-development.
This development has caused local people much distress since 2014, with detrimental odours, noise, dust and traffic issues which, as evidenced by the recent objections, are still occurring. Substantially increasing the tonnage of crop input and digestate export will exacerbate problems previously experienced from unacceptable practices which East Devon’s Environmental Department have worked tirelessly and doggedly to rectify and Conditions 5, 7 and 10 of Application 17/0650/VAR were imposed in October 2017 to specifically protect the amenities of local residents and must consequently not be waived.
This latest variation application now seeks to more than double crop imports from 26,537 to 66,000 tonnes per annum, to increase imported farm manure and dairy by-products plus the doubling of Enfield pig slurry with an increase in annual exports from the site from 21,354 to 56,000 tonnes. Furthermore to approve daily additional tractor and trailer movements on the A376 between Clyst St Mary and an Exmouth lagoon during non-harvest winter months in an already heavily trafficked area causes great concerns from local people, especially when residents already spend long, arduous journeys in low gear behind slow moving tractors and trailers over prolonged distances.

Detrimental vehicular air pollution on the A376, A3052 and around the Clyst St Mary area, has been the subject of recent monitoring and East Devon’s Strategic Planning Committee already recognises that “Junctions 29 and 30 of the M5 and the Clyst St Mary roundabout are at capacity and will be significant constraints on future development in much of East Devon” making the Applicants’ comments that these proposed increases ‘have limited impact on the highway network capacity and safety’ acutely controversial. Highways England stated last year that “the development can only be considered to be sustainable if feedstock sources and digestate deliveries continue to be focused on the local area.” 

The Government recognises that many anaerobic digesters are using mainly crop-based energy methods instead of the original accepted concept of waste to energy and believe that these practices could ultimately have a negative effect on future national farming and food production costs. Hauling over long distances is not sustainable and problematic; growing predominantly maize causes soil erosion, pollution of water courses and flooding and detrimental odour, noise and traffic near residential areas is unacceptable making any further large- scale development expansions of Enfield inappropriate and insupportable.

Editable Version of Letter of Objection in Word Format

18/2437/MFUL  Installation of a roof and roller shutter door to existing storage clamp; installation of dome to collect residual gas and installation of digestate processor unit – Enfield Farm Biodigester Oil Mill Lane Clyst St Mary EX5 1AF

Although this application appears solely to be adding a roof to an existing storage clamp, installing a dome on an existing digestate tank and building a  new digestate processing facility, it must be viewed and considered as a parallel application with Application 18/2173/VAR (which has been submitted separately by the Applicants) to double crop imports from 26,537 to 66,000 tonnes per annum, increase imported farm manure and dairy by-products and double the pig slurry, which will in turn increase the annual Enfield exports from 21,354 to 56,000 tonnes because the increases in tonnage are inextricably linked to this application for the expansion of infrastructure at Enfield to accommodate such vast tonnage growth. Furthermore, there is uncertainty whether this increased infrastructure has already been built retrospectively before planning permission has been granted.

Since 2014 the Applicants have systematically pursued expansion and there is no doubt that, at present, the Enfield Biodigester has been developed to produce more than double the approved energy output.
The gradual growth over 4 years has been disguised by continuous individual planning applications for extensions which singly do not represent large-scale development. Consequently, by a steady drip-drip-drip process of separate expansion applications (which camouflage the overall cumulative growth), Enfield Anaerobic Digester has materialised into an unsustainable, vast development in this neighbourhood. Although some evolution is supportable, such over-development in this village, near residential areas, is neither acceptable nor sustainable.

Future environmentally-friendly energy production is obviously a goal that needs to be achieved – but approving a planning application for a small on-farm Anaerobic Digester at Enfield in Clyst St Mary in 2014 is definitely at variance with now approving a massive industrial-sized development of this magnitude in this particular locality!
These latest proposals include partial roofing on a 104-metre long silage clamp, a 9 metre digestate processing facility but more worryingly an additional new domed structure reaching 12 metres high on an existing digestate tank. Enfield Anaerobic Digester is sited in an elevated location with existing large structures viewable from far afield, so another dome reaching 12 metres high will exacerbate the detrimental effects on the landscape amenity, especially since much of the previous conditioned mitigation landscaping (including native woodland, Devon hedges etc) has yet to be planted.
Such increases do not comply with the Conditions limiting site size, infrastructure, tonnage, transportation and output which have previously been imposed by planners specifically to protect the amenities of local residents and control over-development.

In 2014 the Applicants stated: –
“Enfield was selected owing to its close proximity to where the pig slurry is produced and its closeness to land onto which the digestate would be spread; this was an on-farm AD to service the needs of the adjacent pig farm where the same owner would grow the crops required to mix with the slurry to maximise gas output” but this environmentally-friendly vision has since become lost in the master plan for Enfield to create a very large high-income energy output facility because such massive investment needs to reap huge profits.

Since 2014 this development has caused local residents problems with detrimental odours, noise, dust  and traffic issues and from the objections attached to both these applications (e.g. “What once was a lovely place to live has now been ruined by Enfield farm”), residents living nearby in Oil Mill Lane are still being detrimentally affected by odour, noise, dust and traffic issues which are blighting their day-to-day lives and continue throughout the night (1a.m.), when time restrictions for work practices were restricted by planners. Such substantial expansion will only exacerbate previous problems experienced throughout Clyst St Mary from unacceptable practices that East Devon’s Environmental Department have worked tirelessly and doggedly to rectify.

Residents accept normal agricultural practices in their locality which may generate some odours, noise and transport from time to time – but this anaerobic digester at Enfield has now evolved into a monster that is difficult to control and by substantially increasing quantities of crops, farm manure, dairy by-products, pig slurry and infrastructure, nuisance odours, noise and traffic problems will also potentially increase.
The disadvantages of further expansion weigh heavily against both submitted applications. Their procedures are too heavily crop-based and contrary to the concept of waste to energy on which the 2014 application was approved. Large-scale maize harvesting for energy production could ultimately have a negative effect on future national farming and food production costs and can cause soil erosion, pollution of water courses and flooding. Feedstock sources and digestate deliveries are not focused on the local area and are hauled over unacceptable distances causing traffic congestion and detrimental vehicular air pollution from slow moving tractors and trailers on highly trafficked highway networks – making this application unsustainable, inappropriate, unpopular and insupportable.

Editable Letter of Objection in Word Format

Clyst St Mary Built Up Area Boundary

You may be aware that East Devon District Council (EDDC)are in the process of putting together the final elements of their Local Plan. Our Neighbourhood Plan is progressing well and once both are adopted, should safeguard our village boundaries that we have recently fought so hard to protect.

As part of the process EDDC have a public consultation out at the moment (ie before the aforementioned Plans are adopted) giving the opportunity for the public and developers to ask for changes on village boundaries.

If you are happy with Clyst St Mary’s current boundaries, as outlined in our Neighbourhood and Local Plans and do not wish for them to be changed (for example, the field behind the football ground, currently owned by the Plymouth Brethren, could be re-designated as an area on which to build)  please add your name and address to  the letter we have prepared for you CLICK HERE to pen and forward it to or please print off a copy and post it through our letter box: 11 Clyst Valley Road (which we will deliver by hand).

If possible, please send a letter per household member (over 18) rather than per household.

If you know of anyone in this area without access to a computer, please alert the contents of this email. We will happily provide a printed copy of the letter to be signed if they call 01392 969100.

Best wishes

A Very Positive Outcome For Clyst St Mary

As you will be aware, today was the day the Development Management Committee met at EDDC to discuss the Local Plan.

This had great significance for Clyst St Mary, given that it had been proposed that both the Winslade Park area and the green field owned by the Plymouth Brethren would be used for the village’s allocation of an additional 200 houses.

22 members of our group met last Monday and discussed our key arguments against this which were to be delivered at today’s meeting.

We are thrilled to announce that, following today’s Committee meeting, it was unanimously agreed by the 15 councillors present to reject the green field proposal and reduce the housing allocation for Winslade Park to 150 in total.

A massive thank you to everyone who attended last Monday’s meeting, including the seven brave souls who spoke so passionately and articulately today, as well as all those local residents who turned up simply to offer moral support. It really was greatly appreciated.

Whilst this was only a hearing for the Local Plan – not a hearing for the specific applications to which we have all objected – it does give us hope for the future. Things certainly appear now to be less bleak than they did ten days ago!

Rest assured, with your support, we will continue to fight in a dignified, professional and open manner to unite and preserve our village community.


For more information and interviews on this post please contact Peter Simmonds at

Revised East Devon Plan Allocates 200 Additional House to Clyst St Mary

There has been a significant development regarding the Clyst St Mary planning applications of which you need to be aware.

We have been advised that East Devon District Council, in its amended Local Plan, has now stated that our village is to take an additional 200 new homes (on top of the 95 that we have already agreed to.) Moreover, the Friends Provident and  Plymouth Brethren sites are the proposed locations of these new homes.

It is important to note that this news concerns East Devon’s Local Plan – it is not a result of the specific hearings for which we have all battled so hard to object to (these planning applications are still to be heard). This announcement is part of a totally separate decision where, for reasons we are not party to, our village seems to have become the exception to the apparent aim of preserving  East Devon villages’ identity; it is believed it is due to our ‘proximity to Exeter’.

As you can imagine, having devoted a large part of our spare time to this campaign for several months, we feel, as you probably do, utterly devastated to hear this shocking news. There remain many questions unanswered and we would, in the longer term, be keen to hear your views regarding  the group’s response and possible actions. In the first instance, we desperately need speakers at the meeting at the Council’s headquarters on Monday 23rd March at 10am. It is crucial our voice is heard. Would you be prepared to speak? If so, please respond to this email – or call 01392 969100 – as soon as possible. Anyone that is prepared to speak must have a booking made by mid day with EDDC.  We are hoping to arrange a short get together for anyone prepared to speak on Tuesday evening.

To say that we are shocked at this development is an understatement; now, more than ever, we have to stay strong and united as a group and really hope that, despite how recent events appear to have manifested themselves, ultimately  justice, transparency and equality shall still prevail.

Relevant links:

The agenda for the Special Development Management Committee to be held on Monday, 23 March at 10amcan now be viewed at:

The revised draft New East Devon Local Plan can be viewed here:

The draft schedule of proposed changes to the East Devon Local Plan can be viewed here:

Another Solar Panel Farm Application!

A new application which has been lodged with EDDC under reference 15/0123/MFUL. This is for the installation of ground mounted photovoltaic solar arrays with inverter cabins, sub station buildings, access tracks, underground cable, fencing and CCTV.  Location is Kenniford Farm (land South Of) Clyst St Mary Exeter EX5 1AQ
If you think this is inappropriate development for this area please object.  Government policy is changing it April to encourage panels to be installed on the roofs of industrial units instead of prime agricultural land.


Do we really want our village encircled to the east by solar panel farms?

Latest Campaign Update Saturday 10th January

ScreenHunter_1112 Jan. 06 13.00Firstly, a massive thank you to everyone who supported our Parish Council by attending the meeting on Wednesday. We lost count at 198, but estimate an attendance of in excess of 222. Truly phenomenal – and a clear indication of the support there is within and across the village.

As you may already know, the Parish Council voted in favour of employing a private Planning Consultant to support us in our fight. Obviously, the Parish Council may not be able to fund this itself, so please, please keep the pledges coming in (though we do not want any money at his stage!). We have been asked what the ‘going rate’ is: the simple answer is, whatever you can afford and feel is appropriate. Pledges thus far range from a few pounds to many hundred and all are equally appreciated.

Links to the media coverage announcing the outcome of Wednesday’s meeting, along with further details about the planner, Charlie Hopkins, will be appearing on our website over the next few days so do keep visiting. We very much want the website to belong to everyone, so do feel free to send in your contributions. Already people have promised to contribute relevant historical maps, pictures, related articles and one resident believes he may still have the particulars of his house from when it was first built in the middle of the last century!

As a campaign group, we are doing our best to keep everyone informed of any developments and communicate as effectively as we can. However, with a number of us working full time, this is not easy. We would therefore welcome any offers of assistance. Anything from printing these updates and posting them to members of the community without Internet access, to knocking on doors and asking people to sign letters would be appreciated. Even if you simply get one other person to register for the campaign, or offer to display a poster, we would be grateful.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, please, please ensure that every member of your household has submitted their letter of application – either online or on paper. So far, according to East Devon District Council’s website, there are fewer than 30 objections – which is in no way of reflection of the number who attended on Wednesday and certainly not enough to persuade the Powers That Be of our views. Therefore, if you haven’t already, please get your letter in before the deadline, 15th January.

Remember: together, we can do this!

ScreenHunter_1112 Jan. 06 13.00

Planned Development v Profiteering


Construction site at Rydons, Exeter. If you don’t want to see this on a large scale in our village object NOW

If you drive anywhere from A to B you cannot help noticing that the UK is in the grip of a house building boom. The political elite who have encouraged mass immigration for years now tell us the country now needs millions of new homes  to meet the demand their policies have created. Continue reading

Save Clyst St Mary Story Now on Express & Echo Webiste

Fantastic result today!

The Express and Echo has published an article about our campaign on their website and this will also be in the paper when it comes out on Thursday.

Read the article here

Every bit of publicity helps our cause – please keep spreading the word wherever you go.

ScreenHunter_1112 Jan. 06 13.00