Plans to create new infrastructure at a north-east brewery to help it become carbon-neutral have been recommended for approval.
BrewDog applied for planning permission to build an anaerobic digestion plant, water treatment plant, CO2 recovery plant and an associated energy generation centre at its Ellon headquarters on Balmacassie Drive.
The idea behind the proposal is to help the company become “the world’s most sustainable drinks firm” and attain carbon neutrality by 2022.
The plant would include handling liquid residue from the brewery through low-energy treatment, and will also use clean heat.
Now, the application is to be discussed at next week’s meeting of the Formartine area committee.
Officers have recommended that the planning application is granted.
A total of 45 representations were received from different households – two in support, 41 objections and two neutral submissions.
Concerns were raised over long operating hours, visual impacts, the potential for odour and noise, drainage issues, road safety and more.
There was support for the environmental and economic benefit of the plans, and the fact it would create local jobs.
A report, which will be discussed by councillors when the area committee meets next week, said: “The proposal does not accord with the requirements of the Settlement Statement for Ellon which has reserved the land that the site is located within for a cemetery (Site R1). While an application for a cemetery has been approved within part of Site R1, it is not on the application site nor is it expected to come forward.
“The Proposed Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan 2020 has limited materiality until such times as it has gone through examination by an independent Reporter however it is noted that within this proposed plan the application site is allocated for business use.
“The site has the particular characteristics of a place where the countryside meets the industrial edge of a settlement. It is not wholly industrial and therefore has some sensitivities associated with the countryside however it would not be described as rural either. The large warehouse and tanks of the existing main facility to the south of the site visually dominate the area from the road. All of the proposed structures are in keeping with the local industrial context of the area.
“It is noted that there will be 6-8 workers on-site during working hours and supporting information confirms that the proposal would create ‘several’ full-time jobs in specialist fields. It is noted that the proposal would remove the need for workers to visit the site with tankers. The proposal is part of the applicant’s strategy to meet its 2022 Gross Carbon Zero target for the brewery site. The proposal also seeks to greatly reduce water consumption.”
If the application is granted, as is the recommendation, it will be subject to several conditions, including around drainage, a noise management plan has been approved, dust suppressing scheme approved and external lighting is installed.