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Villagers slam plans for shipping container development next to homes

Residents living near Rookery Farm in Buckinghamshire are angry at proposals to build a new battery storage energy system.

A Statera BESS site in operation. (Claydons Solar Action Group)
A Statera BESS site in operation. (Claydons Solar Action Group)

Villagers have hit out at plans to install nearly 900 shipping containers next to their homes as part of a new battery storage energy system.

Residents living near Rookery Farm in Buckinghamshire are angry at Statera Energy's proposal to build a 33-hectare site. Susan Tymms is among those who have objected to the plans she described as “devastating”.

She said the battery plant and the planned Rosefield Solar Farm, which will sit next to it, would “affect the mental health of the community”, adding they were already reeling from other projects which hadn’t gone to plan, Bucks Free Press reported.

Statera’s battery energy storage system will include 888 full-sized shipping containers changed to accommodate batteries. The facility will provide 500 MW of storage capacity.

Construction is expected to take 18 months and hoped to be connected to the National Grid within three years. Statera said the development was seen as “crucial” if the government intended to hit its goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Conservative MP for Buckingham Greg Smith (holding sign) has formally objected to the installation. (gregsmith.co.uk)
Conservative MP for Buckingham Greg Smith (holding sign) has formally objected to the installation. (Claydons Solar Action Group)

But locals are asking others who disagree to send their objections regarding the plant which would be erected between Granborough and East Claydon. The Claydons Solar Action Group (CSAG) questioned the ‘green’ credentials of the project and claimed “carbon-heavy sources” would make up most of the energy stored there.

It also claimed the building of the plant would result in “damage and disruption” to nearby roads, views from houses and walkways may be ruined, the project may impact ecology by causing the loss of habitats, and cooling fans could cause noise pollution.

'Devastate the landscape'

Conservative MP for Buckingham Greg Smith MP has formally objected to the installation and said it “would devastate the landscape, take away food producing land and bring yet more construction misery to local communities.”

CSAG wrote: “Now that the plans have been submitted to Aylesbury Vale Planning (Buckinghamshire Council) it's time to have your say and send your objections in. We have been given an extension of two weeks so the new deadline is Friday 16th February 2024 to make our voices heard!”

Claydon, Edgcott, and Granborough Parish Councils all oppose the plans, with Claydon saying “the excessive scale of the development would be immensely damaging to the amenity of the local area.”

Oliver Troup, development lead at Statera, defended the project and said his company had a safe record in delivering and operating projects. He said: “Battery projects such as East Claydon will be critical in supporting the grid's resilience through the energy transition and we have ensured that this facility will have no material impact on noise, local transport, and landscape, whilst offering significant biodiversity enhancements.

“We have been very active in meeting the local community and their representatives to respond to any concerns, via a thorough consultation process.”

Villagers have hit out at plans to install nearly 900 shipping containers. (Claydons Solar Action Group)
Villagers have hit out at plans to install nearly 900 shipping containers. (Claydons Solar Action Group)

Net-zero

The Tories have been accused of watering down their net zero pledge. In September, prime minister Rishi Sunak announced that he would delay the ban on selling new diesel and petrol cars from 2030 to 2035 and that 20% of households will be exempt from a new gas boiler ban, arguing that he does not want to burden ordinary people with the costs of going net zero.

The Government has said it is confident that the net zero by 2050 target will be met, which means balancing the emissions put out with those removed from the atmosphere either through natural or technological means. It also maintains it is on track to meet the sixth carbon budget, which is a plan published every five years on how the government is going to decarbonise the economy on the way to net zero.

This week, the shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds conceded Labour may not hit its wavering £28 billion green investment commitment if they won the next general election. He said the sum remains an “ambition” but said “if we can get there” will depend on the state of the economy. Labour has grown unsure about the £28 billion a year in green projects that it set out in 2021 amid Tory attacks on borrowing plans.

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