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“This is a fight”: Opposition to St Philip’s gas plant plans intensifies

City

The proposed gas generation plant would be just 90m from a nursery school.

St Philip’s residents who are opposed to a planned gas generator plant next to the neighbourhood’s nursery school say “the fight is on”, following the submission of revised planning documents to the council.

Conrad Energy wants to build a ‘STOR’ facility (‘short term operating reserve’ – see below) in the area, which already has dangerous levels of air pollution that frequently exceed World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines. The proposed site is 90 metres from St Philip’s Marsh Nursery School.

“They are going to fight, so we are going to fight. We’re not going to have electricity generated within 90 metres of a nursery school,” said RADE campaigner Stuart Phelps.

The company initially submitted the plans in November. Public responses to the planning consultation were overwhelmingly negative. Now the company has proposed raising the height of the plant’s chimneys, which it claims satisfies air quality concerns.

But the changes, say campaigners, only shift problems onto new communities. Higher chimneys will be visible, and disperse pollutants, further afield.

“We’re not going to have electricity generated within 90 metres of a nursery school”

Phelps said the developers appear to be following a strategy seen before with controversial projects: using the first round of public consultation as a ‘fishing expedition’ before returning with amended plans.

“They’re obviously going to be serious about it. They could either walk away or fight and they’re clearly going to fight,” says Phelps. “It’s now going to get serious, there’s no other way to go.”

The RADE Bristol group is organising a public meeting for next week to share information about the plans and how to object, the date of which is to be confirmed.

Local MPs and councillors have slammed the plans. The application was ‘called in’ by councillors Hibaq Jama and Marg Hickman, meaning it will now be scrutinised by a council Development Committee. The date for this is still undetermined.

St-Philips-Marsh-Nursery St Philip’s Marsh Nursery School

A nearby site was previously central to an intense battle by RADE to prevent a diesel power station being built by Plutus Energy during 2015 and 2016. St Philips is one of the most deprived areas in the city.

Bristol City Council recently announced its aim for Bristol to become ‘carbon neutral’ by 2030.

 

What is a ‘STOR’ facility?

STOR stands for ‘short term operating reserve’. STOR electricity generation facilities function intermittently to provide extra energy to the overburdened National Grid.They are intended to support the National Grid at peak times of energy use – particularly due to the increasing use of sustainable energy sources by the Grid, which can be less predictable in output.

However, critics of the use of these small supplementary plants say that they only increase the reliance on the burning of dirty fuels in often urban locations at a time which the system should be radically decarbonising.

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