Rural location for battery storage development not evidenced

A battery storage development set within a 2.4-metre-high fenced compound in open countryside in Derbyshire was refused as contrary to the spatial strategy and harmful to the rural character and appearance of the area.

The system would allow for the storage of surplus electricity in lithium ion batteries which would be fed back into the national grid in order to balance peaks and troughs in demand and prevent blackouts. The proposal was for ten containers around 12 metres long and 3.5 metres high and ancillary buildings all sited next to a primary sub-station. The proposal did not fit with the criteria set out in the council’s adopted plan policy for rural development, however, in that it did not relate to previously developed or allocated land or the re-use of an existing building. The inspector was not persuaded by the evidence that the storage facility needed to be in that particular location nor that it would provide any significant support for rural employment or that it would particularly harness renewable energy. 

In landscape terms, the inspector considered the proposal would by reason of its scale, height and long expanse of fencing, appear an uncompromising form of development which would not contribute to the prevailing upland limestone character, but would erode the existing sense of place. He felt the proposed woodland mitigation to screen the development would also appear incongruous in the landscape. The inspector concluded the benefits of the scheme did not outweigh the harms.

Inspector: Martin Seaton; Written representations

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