The Proposals at Copland Biogas

In 2022 plans were submitted for an anaerobic digestion (AD) plant to be built on a vacant site near Beccles, Suffolk. If approved, the plant will have the ability to provide around 1,000 cubic metres of green biomethane gas per hour, using locally sourced unavoidable food and organic waste.

The project will support the government’s targets to reach Net Zero by 2050.

Anaerobic digestion is a process by which organic material is broken down by micro-organisms and chemical reactions in the absence of oxygen. The key product of the process is biomethane – an alternative to fossil fuel natural gas.

There is a pressing need in the UK to drastically reduce the use of fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions globally to halt climate change. The plant will contribute to the development of a circular economy in Suffolk by processing around 100,000 tonnes of locally sourced food and organic waste each year from local households and businesses. This waste could be from:

  • Household scraps (for example eggshells, vegetable peelings, inedible offcuts of fruit and vegetables, bones, coffee grounds, and tea bags)
  • Out-of-date food from supermarkets
  • Restaurant waste, including oils, fats and grease
  • Bakery waste
  • Food manufacturing and processing waste

Creating Green Energy: The plant will have the capacity to produce 1,000 cubic metres of biomethane an hour. The resultant green gas can be injected directly into the national gas grid and provide enough gas to heat over 7,400 dwellings – contributing to the UK’s energy security by reducing the amount of fossil fuel derived gas that we have import into the UK each year.

Reducing the need for man-made fertilisers: As a result of the AD process up to 90,000 tonnes of bio-fertiliser will also be produced annually. This bio-fertiliser is suitable for both agricultural use and offers farmers a sustainable organic alternative to synthetic fertilisers, which are extremely energy and carbon-intensive to produce.

A Carbon Negative Process: Up to 8,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) is also produced in the process because it is a natural by-product of organic waste decomposition. This CO2 will be captured and supplied to industry for beneficial use or sequestrated, permanently removing the CO2 from the atmosphere. By capturing the CO2 the AD Plant will actually be carbon-negative and will contribute to the circular economy model.

Supporting Biodiversity: Local biodiversity will be also improved with the installation of wildlife boxes for swifts and bats, bee bricks, and additional vegetation as part of an on-site Biodiversity Enhancement Scheme.

Listening to Concerns and Improving the Site Plan

Since submission we’ve listened to concerns and have made improvements to the plan:

Aviation safety:

To mitigate concerns for aviation safety raised by the nearby airfield, we have altered the layout of the site, moving all tanks and tall structures as far as possible from flight paths and the airfield centre line. We have also made a provision for an emergency landing space which provides a safe flat corridor for aircraft in the event of an unlikely emergency. These changes have been validated by independent Aviation experts recognised by the CAA.

To further reduce the risk of odour:

In addition to the planned state-of-the-art odour abatement system installed within the building, we’ve removed the covered lagoons that store digestate (a type of bio-fertiliser), and replaced them with sealed storage tanks, which further reduces the risk of odour from the development.

To reduce traffic impact:

The vehicle weighbridge will now be located even further away from the entrance, creating a holding area on-site with capacity for several large vehicles at any given time. This removes the risk of queuing traffic on the public highway.

We’re confident these changes will give assurance that we’ve designed the site with minimal disruption, with safety as our top priority.

Click here to view the proposed site.