Shropshire Star

'Potentially hazardous, noisy and unsightly!' Residents amp up opposition to battery energy storage scheme in village centre

Residents are objecting to a renewed bid to build a "potentially hazardous, noisy and unsightly" giant battery in the middle of a village.


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The Battery Energy Storage System proposed for agricultural land north of Bath Mews, in Minsterley, near Shrewsbury, would keep electricity being generated by renewable power systems for use at a later time.

Applicants Fig Power say that the batteries built over one hectare could power the whole of Minsterley and Pontesbury combined, provide cheaper energy to nearby high use businesses and be done safely and for an environmental benefit.

But objectors have their doubts with resident Mike Davies saying: "These are Lithium ion battery storage facilities in units about the size of shipping containers that are potentially hazardous, noisy and unsightly."

He adds that although fires in the "new and developing technology" are rare they "do happen".

"If they catch fire they are a devil to put out.

"They also look rubbish and make a noise," he added. "The best practice is to build them on industrial or agricultural land away from residential houses.

"It is metres from residential houses and on a level 3b flood zone although they have proposed building it on stilts to mitigate flood risk.

"Nothing makes sense apart from profit to landowner and power company."

The field where the storage system is due to be built.

Other objectors have joined Mr Davies in lodging their issues on the Shropshire Council planning portal in advance of an April 9 consultation deadline.

The comment-count is currently running at five objectors to one supporter for the erection of a raised platform and installation of a battery energy storage system (BESS) with boundary fencing, access track, landscaping, and associated infrastructure.

Planning documents lodged by the applicants' agent, Berrys of Shrewsbury, says this is the third bid for a BESS proposal on the site. The first was withdrawn in November 2022 and an amended application was refused in August 2023.

Berrys has told council planners that they have addressed the technical reasons for the refusal and now it represents sustainable development and should be permitted.

A 47-page planning, design and access statement says that the site has been "designed with safety as priority" after Fig Power took on board "previous comments of the Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service" to design the proposal. A "suitable access and water supply for fire tenders is to be provided."

They add that there are "multiple protection and safety devices within the BESS including fire detection in each container, over-temperature protection, ventilation system, and aerosol fire extinguishing system."

They have also included background technical papers that examine differences between battery systems and the fire risks.

The planning note.

The applicants have also changed the way the scheme looks including reducing the number of battery units from seven to four.

But even with the reduced numbers of units the 10MW proposal would provide "enough electricity to power power more than the dwellings in Minsterley and Pontesbury combined" (about 1,520 dwellings).

They are also offering to give the parish council a one-off £10,000 Community Benefit Fund to deliver identified community benefits if the development is to go ahead.

Fig Power's applicants add that they have looked for other sites but the one chosen is also close to two large factory developments in Minsterley.

Rea Valley Speciality Foods and the Muller factory could be provided with cheaper electricity.

Comments can now be made on the plan on the Shropshire Council planning website with the reference number 24/00889/FUL.