A NEW multi-million pound industrial scale anaerobic digester is being built at Leeming Bar.

When complete Leeming Biogas will be the biggest of its kind in North Yorkshire and one of the largest in the country - converting up to 80,000 tonnes of food waste a year into biomethane which will be injected direct into Northern Gas Network's pipeline.

The plant will provide enough energy to power more than 2,500 homes and is a joint venture between Stokesley-based JFS & Associates and Iona Capital. It is due to be completed and operational by September 2015.

A number of businesses have already signed up to send their food waste to the plant and others are being encouraged to do so. The waste currently goes to landfill or is spread direct on to land but the new facility will be capable of generating up to eight million cubic metres of biomethane a year - contributing towards the energy targets set by the Government for 2020.

Matthew Flint, director of JFS & Associates, said: "This project has been two years in the making and the multi-million investment from Iona Capital is vital to enable this plant to benefit the local economy in Leeming Bar as well providing cost and environmental benefits for all the businesses involved."

In addition to biomethane, the plant will also produce nutrient rich bio fertilizer which will be supplied to land owners in the local area.

Iona Capital is keen to get the plant operational and Mike Dunn, managing director, said: "This project represents a significant investment in the North East and offers environmental and economic benefits to the local community. We are delighted to partner with JFS & Associates on our seventh anaerobic digestion scheme with them."

JFS & Associates Ltd was set up by Matthew Flint and Peter Johnson in 2011 and develops partnerships with landowners and farmers to provide tailor made anaerobic digestion plants for farms and businesses,

They currently own and operate six AD plants in the North East and Cumbria with have six more at the planning stage. They plan to operate at least 25 food waste and farm scale AD plants in five years.

London-based Iona Capital is a fund manager which provides equity and subordinated debt into waste projects, which have a renewable element. This may include the production of methane gas for conversion into electricity or heat and the recovery of recyclable materials.