Plans to build a new gas power station in Bristol have been rejected by the city council due to fears it would adversely impact on local air quality and increase noise pollution.
Energy firm UK Power Reserve had originally intended to build the gas-fuelled plant to provide standby electricity for St Werburgh area of the city. The plans comprised 14 individual generators with 41ft chimneys.
However, the site is located within Bristol’s air quality management area (AQMA) and concerns were raised that the emissions from the generators would worsen air quality to the detriment of public health.
In addition, respondents felt that this was an inappropriate development for a residential area with regards to noise pollution, overall appearance, lack of public consultation and ecological impact.
After having received several negative responses regarding the development, a council meeting was held last week (9 December 2015) where UK Power Reserve’s planning application was turned down.
The initial application was submitted earlier this year (August 27) and residents were notified of the plans via notification letters and a site notice display.
Following this, local group BS2 Green Space organised a campaign to oppose the plan, which saw over 70 residents gather to express concerns over noise and air pollution.
Overall the plans attracted 684 objections, which were backed by Ashley Ward Green councillors Gus Hoyt and Rob Telford, who highlighted the visual pollution aspect of the proposals as well as the environmental and biodiversity impact.
MP for Bristol West, Thangam Debbonaire, also objected because “the area surrounding the proposed site already suffers from poor air quality, which will be exacerbated by the operation of the plant.â€?
Furthermore, the city council’s air quality officer, Andy Edwards, questioned the air quality assessment methodology submitted by UK Power Reserve, and argued that the proposed development would worsen air quality at residential locations near the development.
The air quality officer concluded: “I recommend that the planning application be rejected on the basis of unacceptable impacts on local air quality.â€?
Following the council’s decision to reject the site construction, Mr Hoyt said: “I am delighted that councillors on the planning committee saw sense and refused this proposal. Installing a gas power station in the centre of St Werburghs is not the right way to address our energy shortages.
“The next step is for us as a city to also give this message to the government. What we need is a long term approach to energy that prioritises renewables, energy efficiency and investment in grid upgrade and energy storage.â€?
Mr Telford also commented on the decision, stating that “with over 700 objections, the community of St Werburghs spoke loudly and clearly that they do not want additional non-renewable power generation in their community.â€?
UK Power Reserve issued a statement which said: “We are disappointed with the planning committee’s decision to refuse consent for the scheme. We continue to believe that this is an excellent project that could help deliver power to homes and businesses when it’s needed most and benefit the local area.
“The risk of blackouts this winter is at a 10-year high and local gas-fired plants, such as the one we were proposing, play an important role in ensuring the lights stay on while supporting a lower carbon future. We will review the committee’s decision in detail before deciding on next steps.”