Councillors of the Formartine Area Committee discussed the plans on Tuesday, January 19.
BrewDog had applied to Aberdeenshire Council for permission to build an anaerobic digestion plant, a water treatment plant, associated energy generation centre and co2 recovery plant on land adjacent to its Ellon brewery at the town’s Balmacassie Industrial Estate.
Two houses are located to the north of the proposed site and it is next to tanks already used by BrewDog.
The development will enable BrewDog to treat its Organic Processed Liquid (OPL) to supply on-site energy. Doing this would reduce the firm’s disposal costs and carbon footprint.
A SUDS basin has been proposed to the west of the site with drainage to existing pipework leading to a culvert to Broomies Burn. A partial foul water soakaway would be next to the basin.
Concrete bund walling will be installed around some of the new structures and landscaping would also be planted along the northern edge of the site in a bid to address any concerns of overbearing on neighbouring properties.
Prior to the meeting the plan received 45 representations of which 41 objected to the application and two gave their support. The other two representations neither objected or supported the plan.
Those objecting to the proposals raised concerns including a potential visual impact, noise and odour impacts, road safety and drainage issues. However those in support have said the development would have an environmental and economic benefit while also creating local jobs.
Despite all of the objections raised Aberdeenshire Council planners had recommended that the application be granted.
Commenting at the meeting committee chair and councillor Isobel Davidson said the proposal was “exciting” for Ellon.
She added: “It’s good to see a different approach to disposing of waste and it absolutely meets the circular economy and meets environmental standards and I think that’s a great initiative for a local company to do that.
“I have concerns about the outflow to the Broomies Burn but I’m really interested to hear that the brewery is intending taking a lot of water back in and I can understand that would increase over time from learning which is a good thing and it’s up to SEPA to monitor and licence any waste water coming out of the system so it sounds like everything is in hand to make sure it is a sustainable system and will be run to the best of its ability.”
However Councillor Gillian Owen suggested refusing the application and said the plans were a “step too far”.
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 visual impact to the surrounding area.
“Broomies Burn has borne the brunt of contamination and whilst I accept there are mitigations in place I’m not convinced that discharging 900 tonnes of effluent per day into Broomies Burn is the best way forward and I still wonder whether there is potentially an impact that this is going to have on the environment and wildlife.”
Councillor Owen added that she had concerns the development would be: “visually oppressing, probably noisy and smelly, and will have detrimental impact to residents a stone throw away”.
Councillor Owen did not receive support for refusal so the application was approved.