VILLAGERS have won a battle against plans to build the county’s largest waste digester on an orchard.

The M2G Renewables plan for a 5.6-acre orchard at Q Gardens Farm Shop in Milton Hill, near Didcot, has been withdrawn by the firm.

It would have processed 50,000 tonnes of waste each year, including a lorry load of chicken manure every day.

But residents said it would spoil the rural character of the area, and raised concerns about the smell.

Now the company has bowed to local opposition and said it would look for another site for the waste digester plant.

Spokesman Tom Bland said it had “taken into consideration the level of local objections to the proposed development”.

He said: “M2G Renewables have taken the decision to withdraw the current planning application to allow time to consult with all interested parties, revise the application documents as appropriate and resubmit the application for an alternative site.”

The facility would have consisted of a large bunker for processing and storing waste, and a number of outlying tanks where it would be digested.

Other waste digester plants, at Cassington and Wallingford, process about 45,000 tonnes of waste a year.

Vale of White Horse District Council received nearly 300 objections to the plans.

Claire McMillan, of protest group Residents Against Milton Digester, said: “We are delighted with how the community has come together on this issue.

“People gave up time to do the research and engage with the planning authorities so those affected had their voices heard.”

The group questioned estimates of the amount of waste that would need to be carried away from the site in lorries as being too low.

Consultants for the plan at first said it would produce enough electricity to power 24,000 homes but this was later corrected to 2,800.