A HUGE outcry has helped to convince council planners to reject plans for a controversial anaerobic digestion plant in Ramsbottom.

Protesters besieged the Bury Town Hall in opposition to the proposed venture by Peen Environmental and Tamar Energy for Fletcher Bank Quarry.

Around 1,850 signed a protest petition and 1,452 opposition letters were received against the application, which supporters claimed would result in a £15million boost for the local economy.

But the borough’s planning control committee ruled that the plans were inapproriate for the greenbelt setting and rejected the scheme.

Ramsbottom Against the Waste Site (RAWS) staged a demonstration outside the meeting and even local Green Party members had raised concerns about the renewable energy initiative.

Coun Ian Bevan, who represents the Ramsbottom ward, said after the meeting that the decision was ‘a great day for the people of Ramsbottom and democracy’.

He said: “We spoke out on the three main issues - firstly that it should not be built in the greebelt and secondly about the possibility of air pollution and the effects of the people of Ramsbottom.

“And we also highlighted the impact on people living nearby - there are homes only 50 metres away and a school only 150 metres away.”

Rossendale and Darwen MP Jake Berry had also voiced concerns about the plant’s potential impact on the residents of nearby Edenfield.

Coun Bevan said that the campaign would now continue, especially if the applicants decided to appeal against the authority’s decision.

But he added: “Hopefully Peel will now concentrate on one of its other sites.

“Because this was just one of a series of digestion plants that they wanted to create around the country.”