Concerns over electrical storage unit for green belt land in Wolverhampton

An MP has urged caution over a scheme to build a giant electrical storage unit on green belt land on the outskirts of a city.

The site of the proposed battery storage unit on the outskirts of Wolverhampton
The site of the proposed battery storage unit on the outskirts of Wolverhampton

Balance Power Projects wants to build the one hectare development for the National Grid on land off Bhylls Lane on the Wolverhampton-South Staffordshire border.

Under plans submitted to South Staffordshire Council, the firm wants to install a unit and a new access route at the site, which sits near the South Staffordshire Railway Walk and nature reserve.

Wolverhampton South West MP Stuart Anderson and Merry Hill councillor Wendy Dalton say they have been contacted by a number of residents opposing the plans.

Mr Anderson said concerns had been raised over its potential impact on the environment and local wildlife.

He said residents had warned that a plan to temporarily extend the access track running from Castlecroft Road could lead to "serious congestion", while there was also a "safety issue" relating to families and children using the bridge and Bhylls Lane to get to local schools.

The bridge, towards the bottom of Windmill Lane, is already weak and constituents are worried that it may suffer further damage due to the extra traffic, he said.

Mr Anderson has called on Wolverhampton Council to ensure residents' concerns were taken into account when the scheme was looked at by planners in South Staffordshire.

'Positive outcome'

He said: "Eighty-seven per cent of the land in my constituency is already built on.

"I want to ensure that access to the greenbelt in and around Wolverhampton is protected."

Councillor Dalton said: "Together, we are making the concerns of local people known and working hard to protect our precious environment.

"I hope that Wolverhampton Council can play a positive role in ensuring that these concerns are conveyed to South Staffordshire Council.

"I will continue working alongside my residents towards a positive outcome."

A statement accompanying the plans says the scheme will feature 28 battery units, along with 28 inverter and transformer units, a controller room, a customer compound and an access track and car park.

It will provide a "valuable national service" as it will help the National Grid meet its energy supply requirements, the statement says.

It also say the scheme will help combat climate change and that it "embodies the principle of sustainable development placed at the heart of the planning system".

The scheme is expected to take up to one year to build, with up to 30 workers on site at a time.

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