Victory for objectors as electrical storage facility plans rejected

More than 100 objectors have won their battle to stop an electrical storage site being built on green belt land in South Staffordshire.

Plans for the battery-based electrical storage scheme had been recommended for approval by council officers. The facility was earmarked for land near the South Staffordshire Railway Walk at Castlecroft.

But South Staffordshire Council’s planning committee went against the recommendation and voted to refuse permission because the facility would intrude on green belt land.

A report to the committee said: “The site would connect to the existing Wolverhampton West substation immediately east of the site. The purpose is to support the operation of the National Grid ‘Balancing Service’, which balances the supply and demand of energy to ensure the security and quality of the electricity supply across its transmission system.

“The infrastructure would be enclosed by a 2.6m acoustic security fence measuring 114m x 39m. To the north and south of the enclosure a planting scheme is proposed.

“The applicant considers the scheme as temporary as at some point the batteries will no longer be required. However, the exact lifespan up to decommissioning of the site is unknown. The applicant states that after the proposed battery has been decommissioned, the development would be removed, and the land returned to its existing baseline state.”

Some committee members supported the application at its latest meeting. Councillor Penny Allen highlighted the need for renewable energy. Councillor Matt Ewart said battery storage was essential in terms of renewable energy.

Local member Councillor Robert Reade spoke against the plans however, raising concerns about their effect on the local area and openness of the green belt. Councillor Ian Sadler believed the facility should be located closer to a generator, while Councillor Terry Mason saw no good reason for moving the location from a site previously approved in 2016.

South Staffordshire Council received 106 responses from the public to the application put forward by Balance Power Projects Ltd. All but three were objections.

Reasons for objection included in increase in traffic, noise and air pollution, local roads being unsuitable for HGVs and disturbance to local wildlife.

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