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Eco Composting Ltd given go-ahead to lay new pipe by BCP Council

A RECYCLING firm in Christchurch has been granted permission to build a subsurface gas pipeline that will connect to the local distribution network.

Members of BCP Council’s planning committee gave the go-ahead for Eco Composting Ltd on Chapel Lane to build the pipe, which will export biogas from the site.

The work will require the temporary partial closure of a right of way north of the site.

Eco Composting Ltd on Chapel Lane in Christchurch (picture: Google)
Eco Composting Ltd on Chapel Lane in Christchurch (picture: Google)

The company was also told it will have to complete a badger survey and take any necessary mitigating action before works begin in the designated Green Belt area.

Acting for the firm, agent Union4 Planning said the proposed development would comprise a subterranean gas pipeline to export biogas from the company’s anaerobic digestion facility into the gas network.

In its application, the agent said the works site would comprise part of the existing waste recycling and recovery site, plus the private lane along its northern boundary and part of Chapel Lane, a public right of way.

A BCP planning officer’s report said the proposed works, which do not fall under permitted development, would extend over approximately 722 metres from the northern boundary of the Chapel Lane site before connecting to the gas network. The pipeline will run at a depth of no less than 0.75 metres.

The officer noted the pipeline will not be visible and will not “impact on the openness” of the Green Belt, describing the proposal as “consistent” with the national planning policy framework.

“The proposal would require temporary access to and partial closure of the adjoining public right of way network,” they said.

“However, from the submitted information it is clear that public access will be maintained, with the necessary closure limited to a 1m width of the path to permit the trench...for the pipeline.”

After the pipeline is laid, the path will be rebuilt using the same material as the existing path.

BCP Council’s highways team has no objection to the scheme, and its public rights of way team had offered no comment, meaning public access will be maintained while works take place.

A biodiversity officer did not object either, but noted a recent survey of the area had not considered badgers, which are known to be present north of the site.

The officer advised the inclusion of a pre-work condition to ensure a badger survey of the land around the pipe is conducted. There were also calls for the firm to submit a construction environmental management plan.

Natural England was consulted over the works, but had provided no comment.

Permission has been granted for the work to begin within the next three years. Planners added a condition that a badger survey must be completed before work begins, as well as any appropriate mitigation measures to protect the animals.

Councillors also said the firm must draw up a construction environmental management plan to “demonstrate how protected species and designated sites will be protected” before works begin.

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