THE first green energy plant to convert crops into gas in the north of England is to be built in Doncaster.
Borough councillors have granted planning permission for Vulcan Renewables to build the biomass renewable energy facility near the village of Lindholme, just off the A614.
Farmers in the area are already keen to provide the grass and maize which will be converted into gas to be fed into the mains pipeline.
The facility will consume around 35,000 tonnes of crops a year and, to enhance its green credentials, they will all be grown in fields within a radius of ten miles, thereby reducing the carbon footprint of transportation.
Once up and running the biogas anaerobic digester is expected to generate enough gas to fuel the equivalent of 2,500 homes, say the firm behind the scheme.
A byproduct will be an odourless fertiliser which will go back on the fields, reducing the amount of chemicals used by farmers.
The site is next to the A614 and opposite the Lindholme housing estate.
Residents have already expressed their support through the Lindholme Village Action Group.
The only other similar operation to the development is in Norfolk.
It was visited by environmental health officers from the borough before they recommended that planning permission was granted.
Vulcan spokesman Philipp Lukas told the planning committee meeting that the 12-month construction project, which involves building sealed fermentation and gas tanks, would provide 15 to 20 jobs and the company would be spending around £1 million a year.
He said the Lindholme site was ideal “because there is already a gas mains pipe there and the light land around it is suitable for biomass crops.”
“We have had a lot of interest from local farmers,” he added.
Planning officers say the site is not in an area of landscape interest and there were no objections.
HMP Lindholme, Hatfield Town Council and the National Grid have all supported the building of the plant.
However, councillor Ted Kitchen urged council officers to “keep a tight rein” on potential odour problems from rotting crops.