3rd March 2023
That’s the staff and student appraisal of both the visit to the anaerobic digester which produces the peatfree mulch (and sold commercially as Bloomin Amazing soil enricher) and then the visit to the town of Poundbury, the prototype urban extension to Dorchester designed following the vision and innovative approach to community planning of Prince now King Charles. A fieldtrip to witness the realisation was well worth the long journey (Poundbury is adjacent to Dorchester in Dorset: 50.7137, -2.4653).
The Rainbarrow Farm anaerobic digester, located immediately west of Poundbury, is the country’s first biomethane plant which links to the national grid and was opened in 2012. A brief description of its workings is given in the video on the company website (https://www.bloominamazing.com/) but we must thank Sebastian Ganzer, technical director, for the comprehensive explanation of the plant’s essential processes which he summarised as akin to a concrete cow – wheat in at the front end, methane out at the back.
The Poundbury visit was led by staff from Dorset Council: Sophie Duke – Senior Urban Designer, Katherine Van Etten – Senior Landscape Architect and James Lytton-Trevers – Lead project officer (DM). We appreciated the time they gave us, leading us around the town, explaining the planning principles adopted, the open space opportunities, the problems of a skewed demography, the unfortunate prevalence of cars. As to how many “likes” the students gave to the result, no official poll was taken. Perhaps all who went should be urged to send in their comments. Here’s some pictures taken by staff and students to set the scene: