Anger as new bigger energy station planned for greenbelt land after previous scheme rejected
An energy company has sparked outrage by applying to build another renewable energy battery station on greenbelt bigger than its previously unsuccessful application.
Walsall Council refused Anesco permission to build the battery energy storage system (BESS) on greenbelt land on Chapel Lane, Great Barr, leading to the company appealing and securing a public inquiry in August.
However, Anesco pulled out days before the inquiry was to start.
Overjoyed residents presumed the threat to their beloved fields was over but were shocked last week to see a new application for a bigger battery station. The first application had 28 battery storage containers, substations, solar panels and related equipment.
The new proposed BESS has 39, which have a lifespan of 40 years, and which Anesco claims are vital if the country is no longer going to rely on fossil fuels and switch to renewable energy.
Furious residents have organised a public meeting about the application for Friday night, at Great Barr Memorial Hall, in Chapel Lane, at 7.30pm.
The Beacon Action Group have vowed to fight the application with as much verve as the first one and many residents have already submitted written objections. Residents, businesses and local organisations have until Wednesday, November 29, when the public consultation finishes, to submit their objections.
Jenny Hulme, a member of the action group, said: "There is local outrage at this resubmission. Anesco have submitted another planning application for an even larger BESS.
She added: "This has been allowed on a technicality. Anyone interested about this attack on our greenbelt should attend the public meeting to discuss a way forward and provide information regarding how to further object as the reasons for refusal have not changed."
Jenny urged local residents to submit their objections as soon as possible.
She said: "We need as many objections as possible. Last time there were 400."
Julie Powell added: "I've already submitted my objection. I'd like to know why they've been allowed to submit another application when they've already been turned down once? I had wondered why they cancelled their appeal."
Stantec, on behalf of Anesco, have submitted the new planning application.
The planning statement said: "This revised application addresses the previous reasons for refusal and matters subsequently raised in the now withdrawn Appeal.
"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 Walsall.gov.uk and use the reference number 23/1286.