Express & Star

Residents turn out in force to back campaign to stop battery park on green belt

More than 60 furious residents packed a public meeting vowing to fight a new application to build a rechargable battery station on green belt land.

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An artist's impression of the proposed BESS

There was disbelief and anger last week when energy company Anesco submitted a planning application for a bigger renewable energy battery station (BESS) than was refused by Walsall Council over the summer.

The company also pulled out of a public inquiry just days before it was being held in August leading Great Barr residents to believe they had won.

On Friday night campaigners held a meeting at St Margarets Church and more than 60 people turned up.

Campaigner Sadie Lambert, from the Save Barr Beacon Green Land Action Group, said: "There was a successful meeting with over 60 people in attendance. We all need to pull together once more to make sure we get over the 400 objections from last time, so please keep your eye on this group."

Last time more than 400 residents objected to the application which led to Walsall Council rejecting the plan. The action group have already begun coordinating a similar campaign.

Sadie added: "Most of you will be aware that a new application has been put in for an even bigger battery storage on Chapel Lane. The last application was refused outright by Walsall Council. It went to Public Inquiry Appeal and at the last minute Anesco withdrew and now it has been resubmitted and is 50 per cent bigger and may have moved closer to Barr Beacon school.

"Please have a look at the new application and start putting comments together. You can use your original objections but make sure to look at the fine details that have changed and they are took into consideration.

"We can help with that so please hold back from sending as yet as there are slight changes and Beacon action group are also working their way through the fine details and will let you know pointers to consider in your comments. At the moment comments need to be in by December 18."

Fellow campaigner Marie Bent said: "I cannot believe they have the audacity to do this again. ! Bloody disgraceful that they have extended the size of this construction. Appalling!"

Stantec, on behalf of Anesco, have submitted the new planning application for the BESS, which they claim are crucial if the UK wants to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

The planning statement said: "BESS provides a way to capture the unreliable sources of renewable energy from sources such as solar, tidal and wind for release at times of peak demand when renewable energy sources are not at their most productive, i.e. when the sun is not shining or when the wind is not blowing.

"BESS is a critical part of the future of renewable energy generation and transition to net zero carbon for the UK and the move away from fossil fuels. BESS actively support the GB electricity network through appropriately timed discharge to the grid."

If successful the construction of the BESS will take up to 40 weeks, with working hours from 7am to 7pm between Monday and Friday and 7am until 5pm on Saturdays.

To see the BESS planning application visit and use the reference number 23/1286.