20,000-cubic-metre biofertiliser lagoon proposed between Hitchin and Luton

A map included in the planning application, showing the location of the site where a 20,000-cubic-me

A map included in the planning application, showing the location of the site where a 20,000-cubic-metre biofertiliser lagoon is proposed near Hitchin. Picture: Google Maps - Credit: Archant

A farm is seeking planning permission to build a 20,000-cubic-metre lagoon to store fertiliser between Hitchin and Luton.

Pilkington Farms Partnership intends for the lined and covered storage lagoon to help support agricultural work on 1,620 hectares of land around Great Offley, King’s Walden and Whitwell.

The farm intends to reduce the proportion of manufactured fertiliser it uses in favour of biofertiliser – nutrient-rich material produced from recycled food waste.

The plan is for the lagoon north-east of Great Offley to be used to store biofertiliser all year round so it is readily available for when it is applied in spring and autumn, without the need for constant deliveries of fertiliser by lorry.

According to the design and access statement attached to the planning application, this will provide flexibility “so that the material can be spread at the correct time in the correct way”.

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The statement says the better uptake of nutrients in biofertiliser means it might replace up to 75,000kg of manufactured fertiliser, with projected savings of more than £50,000 per year.

Concerns have been raised by some people living in Great Offley over the perceived potential for air pollution, unwanted smells and impact on traffic and footpaths – with Laurence Cowley calling the proposed lagoon a “dung lake”.

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The planning statement outlines odour risk and mitigation actions surrounding the proposed lagoon and spreading of biofertiliser, and says the risk of an unwanted stench is low.

“The floating cover minimises release of both ammonia and potential odour to the wider environment,” the statement says.

“The lagoon will be filled as needed using tankers, with the biofertiliser off-loaded directly via a sealed system, therefore minimising the opportunity for odour release.”

The statement also says the lagoon would not be visible from either the nearest dwelling or road, and that Pilkington Farms propose to have roadways widened for delivery vehicles and construction traffic to get in and out.

The farm is already building a new access road for agricultural traffic between Hoo Farm and Offley Hill, which according to the planning statement will see traffic accessing the lagoon bypass Great Offley entirely.

Have a look at the planning application for yourself at north-herts.gov.uk – go to the planning portal and look up reference 18/01048/FP.

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