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BrewDog's proposal for treatment plant in Ellon is approved

By Kyle Ritchie

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Plans from BrewDog to build a treatment plant at its site in Ellon have been granted by councillors.

The Formartine area committee met online on Tuesday and assessed the application submitted by the brewery.

The work is for the construction of an anaerobic digestion plant, water treatment plant, an associated energy generation centre and CO2 recovery plant on the land at Balmacassie Commercial Park.

In the report that went before councillors Aberdeenshire Council's planning service recommended that the application be granted.

The purpose of the development is for the treatment of organic processed liquid (OPL) to supply the on-site energy while cutting disposal costs and the carbon footprint of the business.

The plans from BrewDog for the treatment plant have been approved.
The plans from BrewDog for the treatment plant have been approved.

Senior planning officer Ann Ramsay told the meeting: "The future local development plan has allocated this site for business use.

"There are no outstanding objections from consultees following discussions, additional information and amendments made to the proposal.

"With regards to noise, odour, waste water, surface water and flooding following discussions and multiple consultations with SEPA, environmental health and our flood risk and coastal protection teams, the planning service is satisfied that there would be no significant impacts on residential amenity and that the proposals would meet all the required standards.

"There would be a significant reduction in vehicles to the site, amounting to a 90 per cent reduction, and we are satisfied that there would be no significant impacts on protected wildlife."

Due to this she said the planning service was satisfied the proposal meets the relevant local planning policies and recommended it be granted.

The work will see a SUDS basin constructed to the west of the site with drainage outfall to existing pipework which leads to a culvert to the Broomies Burn. Adjacent to the basin is the proposed partial foul water soakaway.

Concrete bund walling is planned to surround a number of the structures within the site. It also includes a landscaping plan within land controlled by the applicant to reduce the visual impact on neighbouring properties.

The local authority received 41 objections to the application, which outlined a number of concerns with the plans.

These included the visual impacts upon the wider area due to scale of the proposed works; the likelihood of pollution from SUDS/drainage infrastructure; concerns over timescales for detection of effluent leaks; and the impact from discharge to the watercourse on wildlife.

SEPA had initially objected to the proposal but after multiple consultations with the council it lifted its objection when it was confirmed that the flood risk and coastal protection team confirmed that there is no flood risk.

Also that the matters of spillage from tanks; noise impacts; odour impacts; air quality impacts; and effluent quality had been addressed.

Co-founder of BrewDog Martin Dickie told the meeting that the company was implementing an environmental strategy in three focus areas: offset of all carbon immediately, reducing its carbon footprint and reducing waste.

He added: "Through our close working relationship with SEPA we have ensured the site is tightly controlled through pollution prevention and control to ensure the water out, noise, odour and watercourse are strictly regulated and protected.

"We are also improving biodiversity with the landscaping, planting and reed beds associated with the site.

"It will be a real showcase for Ellon, Aberdeenshire and the Energetica corridor on how business can be a sustainable course for good."

Councillor Gillian Owen had concerns with the application and motioned that it should be refused.

She said: "I recognise the endeavours that are being made to achieve carbon neutrality.

"But there is no question that this development will create an even bigger adverse impact to the surrounding area.

"I am concerned that this application on this site will be exceptionally visually oppressing, probably noisy and smelly and will have a detrimental impact to the residents who are within a stones throw of this potential increase in activity.

"Also using Broomies Burn is not a suitable way to dispose of the discharge and in particular the quantities of effluent per day."

Councillor Owen's motion did not receive a seconder.

Committee chairwoman councillor Isobel Davidson made an amendment that the application should be approved.

She said: "This is an exciting proposal for Ellon. It is good to see a different approach to disposing of waste.

"It absolutely meets the circular economy and environmental standards. It is a great initiative for a local company and I very much welcome this."

Councillor Davidson was supported by councillor Jim Gifford and the application was granted.

Related story: Councillors to consider Brewdog treatment plant plans

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