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Thursday, 08 February 2024 11:40

The Industrial BESS Proposal - LOSRA's Objection

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Further to the article posted on Monday 5th February (scroll down), the following is the text of the Association's letter of objection:

The comments given below on planning application 24/00017/FUL, for the construction and operation of a Battery Energy Storage System (‘BESS’) on strongly performing Green Belt land adjacent to the Charlton Lane EcoPark, are from the Lower Sunbury Residents Association (LOSRA).

LOSRA dissociates itself from the impression given in paragraph 1.9 of the submitted PDAS that it supported the proposed development that was presented to local residents on 19 June 2023. Not only did LOSRA attendees express no such support at the time; LOSRA is now strongly objecting to the submitted proposal for the following reasons:

1. The proposal comprises ‘inappropriate development’ within Green Belt under paragraphs 152-156 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF):

  •  The Applicant has therefore put forward a ‘Very Special Circumstances Report’ in order to argue that the application should nonetheless be approved

2. The claimed ‘very special circumstances’ do not justify such approval:

  • Whilst the application argues the country’s need for electricity storage in order to manage intermittent renewable generation more effectively, it does not justify using the Sunbury Green Belt site in order to do so.The site is land-locked, with only a single route to the public highway over land owned by others. In spite of claims to the contrary, it is a considerable distance from the nearest Grid Supply point:
  • The application points out that a cable route of 2.8km in length is ‘at the end of viability…due to the cost of laying cables long distances’. But the route shown actually measures around 3.5km (on the Surrey CC Interactive Map).
  •  It is also claimed that the cable route ‘will avoid any major infrastructure’, and yet it has to cross not only the six-lane M3 motorway but also the Staines Aqueduct – twice.
  •  The land-locked site is also surrounded – by the M3, the Shepperton branch railway, Charlton Village, Ashford Common Water Treatment Works, Upper Halliford’s Birch Grove area and the Charlton Lane EcoPark.
  •  The application claims to provide ‘support for the rural economy’. This is simply implausible for an operationally unmanned industrial complex on suburban Green Belt with its major components, the 96 battery modules themselves, specified from a Chinese supplier.
  •  It is also claimed that the proposed development is ‘temporary’, since it will only last for 40 years and then revert back to nature. That is not only both unenforceable and unlikely, but also of no advantage whatsoever to current local residents.

3. If it were to be built, the BESS complex would represent an unacceptable industrial visual intrusion and extensive health and safety risks:

  •  Although the Applicant has provided no drawings showing the actual appearance of the overall proposed BESS scheme, it is not difficult to imagine what 144 industrial containers laid out in rows across the stated 5.9 hectare site will look like; it would surely be irredeemably ugly.
  •  It is further stated that the site layout has been amended as a result of advice from the Fire Services and reference to the planning guidance from the National Fire Chiefs Council. This resulted in the battery modules being located further from the M3 motorway in order to avoid the impact of the smoke plume on vehicles in the event of a BESS fire. The site is also required to have 9 large water tanks containing a total of 225,000 litres water to fight the fire. A battery fire is a chemical fire that provides its own oxygen; quenching it requires the provision of huge amounts of water to cool it down over many hours and sometime days.
  •  Depending on the wind direction at the time, the smoke plume from such a fire, which would contain a range of toxic gases, might not affect the M3 but rather Charlton Village, Upper Halliford, the Ecopark or, most worryingly, the Ashford Common Water Treatment Works. If it were raining at the time then presumably the toxic chemicals in the plume would wash out into whatever lay beneath.
  •  In a similar vein, the large volumes of water being used to quench such a fire would inevitably pick up those chemicals, most notably hydrogen fluoride, and potentially pass them into the water table should the sump manholes surcharge.
  •  The ‘Framework / Outline Safety Management Plan’, written by consultants and submitted with the application, might have been expected to provide details of how these fire and other risks would be managed, but it is almost entirely conditional upon the receipt of further information from the Applicant. As such it does not provide the level of detail necessary to make an effective assessment of an intended Full Planning Application.

7 comments

  • Comment Link Julia Gilson Tuesday, 13 February 2024 11:10 posted by Julia Gilson

    This is a money making scheme to buy electricity when cost is low and sell it back to the grid when prices are high. It is of no benefit to local residents at all and I stongly object to the proposal for all the reasons quoted above. Please can you provide a link/reference to lodge individual objections.

  • Comment Link Kathy Kirk Monday, 12 February 2024 00:33 posted by Kathy Kirk

    Do those proposing this preposterous scheme have ANY in depth knowledge of Health and Safety. Another disgraceful attempt to dump just about anything on Spelthorne. There has been very little forewarning and no consultation letters sent to all of the households that will be affected in the surrounding areas. Shouldn't they have been given accurate and transparent Information regarding this proposal and a suitable length of time to object.
    There are dangerous risks to this 'proposal' which are being downplayed.
    I therefore STRONGLY object to
    the Industrial BESS Proposal Scheme.
    Considering the risks it would be both unthinkable and a betrayal to even consider approving this environmentally damaging proposal.
    It cannot be confirmed as safe and as such it should NOT be allowed to go ahead.

  • Comment Link Linda Jones Sunday, 11 February 2024 00:45 posted by Linda Jones

    I would like to register my strongest objections to the Industrial BESS Proposal Scheme. It would be a gross dereliction of duty on the part of the Council to allow such a volatile and toxic installation to be situated on green belt land adjacent to the Charlton Village Ecopark and residential housing. The Health & Safety risks are totally unacceptable. I agree with all the objections that LOSRA has raised as follows:-

    1. The proposal comprises ‘inappropriate development’ within Green Belt under paragraphs 152-156 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF):

    The Applicant has therefore put forward a ‘Very Special Circumstances Report’ in order to argue that the application should nonetheless be approved

    2. The claimed ‘very special circumstances’ do not justify such approval:

    Whilst the application argues the country’s need for electricity storage in order to manage intermittent renewable generation more effectively, it does not justify using the Sunbury Green Belt site in order to do so.The site is land-locked, with only a single route to the public highway over land owned by others. In spite of claims to the contrary, it is a considerable distance from the nearest Grid Supply point:
    The application points out that a cable route of 2.8km in length is ‘at the end of viability…due to the cost of laying cables long distances’. But the route shown actually measures around 3.5km (on the Surrey CC Interactive Map).
    It is also claimed that the cable route ‘will avoid any major infrastructure’, and yet it has to cross not only the six-lane M3 motorway but also the Staines Aqueduct – twice.
    The land-locked site is also surrounded – by the M3, the Shepperton branch railway, Charlton Village, Ashford Common Water Treatment Works, Upper Halliford’s Birch Grove area and the Charlton Lane EcoPark.
    The application claims to provide ‘support for the rural economy’. This is simply implausible for an operationally unmanned industrial complex on suburban Green Belt with its major components, the 96 battery modules themselves, specified from a Chinese supplier.
    It is also claimed that the proposed development is ‘temporary’, since it will only last for 40 years and then revert back to nature. That is not only both unenforceable and unlikely, but also of no advantage whatsoever to current local residents.
    3. If it were to be built, the BESS complex would represent an unacceptable industrial visual intrusion and extensive health and safety risks:

    Although the Applicant has provided no drawings showing the actual appearance of the overall proposed BESS scheme, it is not difficult to imagine what 144 industrial containers laid out in rows across the stated 5.9 hectare site will look like; it would surely be irredeemably ugly.
    It is further stated that the site layout has been amended as a result of advice from the Fire Services and reference to the planning guidance from the National Fire Chiefs Council. This resulted in the battery modules being located further from the M3 motorway in order to avoid the impact of the smoke plume on vehicles in the event of a BESS fire. The site is also required to have 9 large water tanks containing a total of 225,000 litres water to fight the fire. A battery fire is a chemical fire that provides its own oxygen; quenching it requires the provision of huge amounts of water to cool it down over many hours and sometime days.
    Depending on the wind direction at the time, the smoke plume from such a fire, which would contain a range of toxic gases, might not affect the M3 but rather Charlton Village, Upper Halliford, the Ecopark or, most worryingly, the Ashford Common Water Treatment Works. If it were raining at the time then presumably the toxic chemicals in the plume would wash out into whatever lay beneath.
    In a similar vein, the large volumes of water being used to quench such a fire would inevitably pick up those chemicals, most notably hydrogen fluoride, and potentially pass them into the water table should the sump manholes surcharge.
    The ‘Framework / Outline Safety Management Plan’, written by consultants and submitted with the application, might have been expected to provide details of how these fire and other risks would be managed, but it is almost entirely conditional upon the receipt of further information from the Applicant. As such it does not provide the level of detail necessary to make an effective assessment of an intended Full Planning Application.

  • Comment Link Susan Lewis Saturday, 10 February 2024 19:57 posted by Susan Lewis

    I have registered my absolute objection to this proposal on the planning website for the planning reference.
    I’m also appalled that residents weren’t properly consulted via letters to their addresses and have highlighted that any lack of objections cannot be perceived as acceptance.

  • Comment Link MaureenTaylor Friday, 09 February 2024 17:41 posted by MaureenTaylor

    This is not acceptable
    A) this is green belt and so should be protected.
    B) the potential for biological damage through I.e. leakage into the ground, into the water table and air we breath especially in an area already highly polluted should be a major no no and so should be stopped.
    C) this is of no value to local residents and could create further dangers through fire and explosion.
    D) this is an area which already has the non eco park it fails to represent any benefits to local populace.
    NO WE DON’T WANT IT NEED IT save the green belt

  • Comment Link Daphne smmith Friday, 09 February 2024 16:53 posted by Daphne smmith

    I do not think that this site is suitable for this deveopment...too much risk to the local community and must not be considered as safe and therefore should not be allowed

  • Comment Link Brian Marsh Friday, 09 February 2024 13:58 posted by Brian Marsh

    As a local resident I find the non advantageous use of the land and the inherent risks that come with such a installation are not only of little to no value locally , the threat they pose should not even allow it to be considered.

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