PLANS have been unveiled for a five-acre green energy plant near Malmesbury that will produce enough gas to supply 2,500 houses.

The biomethane project, which could be operating by the end of next year, is proposed for Quobwell Farm on the Charlton Park Estate, just off the B4014.

The “clean energy” firm behind the scheme, Cheltenham-based Raw Biogas, part of a company called RAW Energy, aims to create gas from “purely renewable, sustainable” sources.

The operation will initially see grasses such as rye and maize grown on the 4,500-acre farm before going through a digester at the plant to create 400 cubic metres of biomethane per hour.

The gas will then be fed into a pipe running between Malmesbury and Tetbury for use in domestic, industrial or commercial purposes.

Other sources to be transformed into gas there could include agricultural bi-products such as chicken waste or cattle slurry.

Company spokesman Stuart Homewood pledged that the project would have no effect on people living in the predominantly rural area.

He said that, traffic-wise, tractors would be used to ferry grasses and other agricultural sourced material from around the farm to the plant, with no road disruption.

Mr Homewood said that as far as odour is concerned, the plant would be no different from any normal farmyard.

“The preconception is that once the material moves through the digester it’s smelly, which can be the case for food waste sites.

“But we will only use agricultural feed stocks and waste at this site, so there is nothing really smelly going through the digesters.

“Nothing noxious will be used.”

He said there were around 400 similar plants in the UK whereas in Germany there were 6,000.

The company, which is currently creating its first biomethane plant in Staffordshire with several others in the pipeline, unveiled its plans at an open day at the Horse Guards pub in Brokenborough on Monday.

Mr Homewood said they were now going through the responses from local people and before submitting a planning application to Wiltshire Council before Christmas.