Valerie Vaz MP Slams Battery Storage Plans on Walsall Green Belt at Debate in Parliament

“I spoke against the planning application by Anesco Ltd to build a battery site on Green Belt Land next to the Duckery at Chapel Lane in a debate on 8 June 2022 on planning, solar farms and battery storage systems called by James Gray MP.

My constituents are adamant that the Green Belt land must be preserved and protection of the Green Belt is set out in the National Planning Policy Framework, the Black Country Plan and the Walsall Site Allocation Document and the notes to the Levelling Up Bill state the Government wants to “make the green belt greener”.

Renewable and sustainable solutions are vital, but building on Green Belt land is not a green solution. There is a viable alternative site at Oldbury National Grid Substation a location suggested by neighbouring Sandwell Council next to the M5 which is more suitable as it is away from homes, as the site would include 28 battery units 2.3m high.

In Australia, Arizona and Liverpool, fires have broken out in Battery Storage Units and the Chapel Lane Site is difficult for emergency services to access, causing concern to residents in the area.

I asked the Minister if an assessment on the safety of the sites has been made and to confirm Government policy of protecting the Green Belt.”