11:20PM, Sunday 03 October 2021
Buckinghamshire Council has refused a planning application for a large electricity storage unit on greenbelt land in Marlow.
The development would have consisted of five buildings including two battery containers in Little Marlow Lakes Country Park, off Coldmoorholme Lane. The containers were to be about 45ft long.
Applicant Envirotech Energy Solutions had speculated that the batteries could support energy supply, providing back-up at times of lower availability of variable renewable sources.
“This contribution is needed to foster the ongoing development of renewable energy and to meet peak demand requirements,” the company wrote.
The application, which was put forward in December last year, garnered controversy quickly, fetching objections from scores of residents, Little Marlow Parish council and Beaconsfield MP Joy Morrissey.
All were concerned about the impact of such ‘extremely visible’ structures on the greenbelt.
Envirotech Energy Solutions made a case for very special circumstances, saying: “(To) store surplus energy in batteries and release it when needed to support wind and solar – and ultimately cut down carbon emissions – clearly has a great deal of merit.”
However, in a planning meeting held earlier this month, the council voted to refuse permission, on the grounds of inappropriate development of the greenbelt.
This includes ‘a reduction in openness’ and a harmful impact on the Little Marlow Lakes Country Park.
Buckinghamshire Council added: “The proposal fails to provide for environmental benefits, thus failing to contribute to the continued development and long-term management of the Country Park.”
Sam Kershaw, chairman of the Coldmoorholme Residents' Association, one of the objectors, said he is ‘delighted’ that Buckinghamshire Council has refused this application.
“There is no need for a battery system in this area and its contribution to Britain's transition to renewable energy is insignificant,” he said.
“There is simply no justification for harming the greenbelt and Little Marlow Lakes Country Park for the sake of a commercial enterprise that would offer no local benefits whatsoever.”
Envirotech Energy Solutions did not respond to a request for comment.
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