Planners at Harris Lamb have successfully appealed against a Council decision to reject a Battery Energy Storage System on Essex green belt land, with the Inspector deeming the proposals appropriate for the site.

Acting for Anglo Renewables, the business submitted an application to Basildon Borough Council for the construction of a 132kV substation and transformer and 24 banks of battery storage units at a 1.6-hectare site on Whites Farm, Barleylands Road, near Basildon.

The authority refused the application, claiming that such a development would be inappropriate due to the site’s green belt location, and there were no Very Special Circumstances to allow the appeal.

Harris Lamb have been successful in securing BESS sites in Green Belt locations over the past two years delivering 400MW of clean energy, and are very familiar with the issues and requirements- working with officers- to ensure appropriate mitigation measures limit any impact.

Graham Kean, the Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State to oversee the appeal, made several key considerations when considering whether Very Special Circumstances existed to allow the appeal.

  1. Paragraph 156 of the National Planning Policy Framework “states that very special circumstances may include the wider environmental benefits associated with increased production of energy from renewable sources. Battery storage is not energy production per se; however the proposal would contribute to the balancing of the local electricity network, providing a flexible supply that complements fluctuations in energy supply and in so doing would increase security of supply to the surrounding area.”
  2. Provision of battery energy storage is a Critical National Priority (CNP) as set out in recently issued  NPS EN-1, “and it is undisputed that the proposal falls within this category”.
  3. The Government’s Planning Practice Guidance states “states that electricity storage enables more flexible use of energy and a decarbonisation of energy systems cost-effectively
  4. Many  other policy statements, including the British Energy Security Strategy April 2022, set out that battery storage is critical to balance out energy supply and demand

The above, together with the temporary nature of the development, the proximity to a grid connection and its impact in improving Biodiversity Net Gain, on the whole demonstrate Very Special Circumstances to allow the appeal.

Paul Barton, a Director in Harris Lamb’s Planning team, said: “Harris Lamb and the wider team, have significant experience delivering such schemes, and are very aware of what is required to obtain permission. This experience allowed us to highlight relevant issues, and present evidence, to demonstrate that benefits of the scheme would be achieved”.

James Stone, Managing Director at Anglo Renewables, said: “We are pleased to have secured permission for a further UK storage facility, and that the Inspector acknowledged the contribution that these schemes play in delivering sustainable energy solutions.

“We are delighted that this proposal has been given the green light, making it the latest renewable energy project we have secured permission for within the UK in order to support the country’s legislated target of reaching Net Zero by 2050,”

“Harris Lamb continue to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the planning policy and the benefits of BESS, with the team’s expertise providing a crucial part in supporting our plans.”

For further details on BESS and Renewable Energy Projects contact Paul Barton at paul.barton@harrislamb.com.