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Emergency response plan focused on potential M6 impact needed for battery farm

Posted on - 15th October, 2023 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Broughton, Politics, Preston Council, Preston News, Redevelopment
Battery Energy Storage System, Barton How part of the facility could look in situ (image: Barton Battery Storage, via Preston City Council planning portal)

Work on a battery storage plant in rural Preston will not be able to start until an emergency response plan has been prepared to deal with the potential impact of the development on the nearby M6.

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The requirement is one of 19 that Preston City Council has imposed on the scheme, which was approved by the authority’s planning committee in August and will see power generated from green sources like wind and solar being saved for use during periods of high demand.

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Councillors gave the go-ahead to the 64-unit proposal for a plot of land off Green Lane in Barton, subject to a series of conditions, which have since been drawn up by town hall planners. Their list of demands has now been revealed as part of the decision notice issued by the council, confirming permission for the project.

Read more: Much-delayed plans for A582 could be revived but questions linger

The emergency response document had been insisted upon by National Highways, which had initially placed a holding objection on the development – in part because of fears over how a fire at the battery farm could affect the safe operation of the adjacent motorway.

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The organisation raised concerns that if what the committee heard was the “novel” technology to be used at the site caught fire, it would release black toxic smoke, which would be blown towards the motorway by the prevailing eastward winds – requiring the route to be shut.

However, the applicant, Barton Battery Storage, then engaged with roads bosses and produced a fire safety strategy, leading to National Highways withdrawing its objection – subject to the submission of the emergency response plan. The city council – which will have to approve that document – says that the condition is “in the interests of traffic and highway safety”.

The committee meeting in August heard that Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service expected that safety measures and risk mitigation were “developed in collaboration” with the brigade.  That request is echoed in the council’s decision notice, but not as one of the enforceable conditions, because the fire service is not a statutory consultee.

Committee members were told that Barton Battery Storage had already engaged with the brigade to fulfil a call for it to produce a risk reduction strategy, which had been deemed “satisfactory”.

Other conditions now set out by the city council include the production of construction traffic management and surface water plans – and a requirement to check the condition of a bridge over the M6 that will be used to access the site, which is to the north of Mount Pleasant Farm.   A sustainable drainage plan will also have to be submitted for approval.

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