Heathfield Power Station application unanimously rejected by Teignbridge planning committee

This morning Teignbridge District Council unanimously rejected application 19/01342/FUL for a gas fired power plant at Heathfield.

First ACT’s Fuad Al-Tawil spoke against the application:

“The council’s unanimous and brave decision to declare a Climate Emergency inspired a huge number of us to act together to help the council fulfil their pledge of Net Zero Emissions for Teignbridge by 2025.

Please give us, and the country, a lead to show that you are serious about doing this.”

“Despite all our efforts we find that the updated report has actually embellished the misinformed evidence from the first report.  Some of this ‘evidence’ gives half the story, some skews the facts and quite a few are simply inaccurate.  This pseudo-evidence is then used to justify the development as being needed and complying with the CCC statements, the NPPF and LP policies.”

“If this is plant is intended to meet ‘peaking’ electricity demands as implied by the developer, it should only operate at the times indicated by WPD’s most recent tender for peaking plant in this area.  This equates to ~5% of the time, yet the applicant intends to operate it for ~50% of the time with no limits to stop that going to 80-90%.”

“Even worse, the declared operating period directly blocks additional renewable generation whether local or elsewhere.”

Here is the full text of Fuad’s speech, which regrettably was cut short by the bell.

Fuad was followed by Ben Wallace for the applicant. Mr. Wallace recited paragraph 3.3.1 of NPP EN-1 as justification for the application: “As a result, the more renewable generating capacity we have the more generation capacity we will require overall, to provide back-up at times when the availability of intermittent renewable sources is low. If fossil fuel plant remains the most cost-effective means of providing such back-up, particularly at short notice, it is possible that even when the UK’s electricity supply is almost entirely decarbonised we may still need fossil fuel power stations for short periods when renewable output is too low to meet demand, for example when there is little wind.

Cllr Sally Morgan, ward councillor for Bovey ward, then spoke passionately about the impact on the Bovey environment, followed by Cllr Avril Kerwell, also a councillor for Bovey ward, who echoed Cllr Morgan’s sentiments. These were followed by a succession of councillors speaking against, including Cllr Nutley, Cllr Keeling and Cllr Wrigley, who cited Dinorwig as a long established example of storage and urged us to write to government to get things changed. Several members spoke of the need to use existing green alternatives.

Cllr Jackie Hook then spoke, emphasising that this was not a council proposal but from a private company. She pointed out the factual inaccuracies in the applicant’s statement and stated that the application was clearly counter to policies S7 and EN3. She noted that para 3.3.1, which the applicant relied on, was written in 2011 and states that electricity can’t be stored, this policy only states that there might be a need for fossil fuelled plant. This need has not been proven. Cllr Hook also spoke of the need for planning officers to consider both sides of the argument. Cllr Clarence spoke about water power as a long established resource that we are not using.

The motion was then put to a recorded vote, where all the committee voted unanimously to reject the application.

Some points that emerged from the discussion were:

  • That the applicant’s web site guarantees 20 years income to site owners for this type of site.
  • Such a plant running for about 50% of the time would deny cleaner alternatives access to the grid.
  • That the need for this and similar application needs to be proven, and this has not been done.

The factual arguments put by ACT and other like minded  organisations have today won the argument.

A fuller account is now available on Devon Live.

Stop the Heathfield Power Plant

Following Teignbridge District Council’s declaration of a climate emergency in April 2019, in July application 19/01342/FUL was received by Teignbridge District Council for a 2.5MW gas-fired peaking power plant at Heathfield. This application has received over 300 objections.

As a result of these Bovey ward Councillor Sally Morgan has called in the decision, so that it would be decided by the full planning committee. The planning officer has now recommended approval to the planning committee, which will meet at 10am 18th February 2020 at Forde House in Newton Abbot.

We will be there at 9.30 and will have a speaker against the application.

A Climate Emergency means that we must not add more fossil fuel burning plant to our electricity network. Teignbridge’s existing local plan has a policy S7, which states that CO2 emissions must be reduced by 48% on 2009 levels by 2033. The applicant claims that this plant supports renewable generation (which it does not), and contains several serious factual inaccuracies including that in 2018 52% of electricity generation was from renewables, where 33.3% came from renewables and 19.5% from nuclear.

The planning officer’s report states that the determination that the application was compliant with policy S7 was “finely balanced”, so had the correct statistics been used it is reasonable to assume that the balance might have swung the other way.

Teign Energy Communities (TECs) has done a detailed analysis of statements in the applicant’s planning statement and the planning officer’s report: http://teignenergycommunities.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/TECs-Heathfield-Power-Station-S7-Analysis-v1.0.pdf

Audrey Compton has written to the members of the planning committee:

Dear Cllr
I am extremely concerned about the application for a Gas Power Station at Heathfield and hope very much that you will be voting against it.
Thousands of us were so encouraged when TDC decided to aim for the District to be carbon neutral by 2025. The all-party agreement on this was also very heartening – having a planning officer recommend passing an application for a fossil-fuel powered generating station is not heartening. To achieve the Councils unanimous ambition means that we all need to reduce our electricity use, not continue as before.

The application asks that the station should be allowed to be used 46% of the time in order to fill gaps in renewable power, this will NOT help us become carbon neutral by 2025.
All it will do is encourage everyone to carry on as usual; which means letting down all of our young people and condemming them to an immeasurably worse life than our own!
Added to the very significant CO2 emissions from this generator are the Nitrous oxide emissions – which are very dangerous to health and will be close to a popular walking and cycle path.
How can TDC measure the impact/contribution this plant will make to the overall Teignbridge Carbon emissions (S7) without this number. An estimate based on 46% operation is quite significant at around 0.25% of total Teignbridge emissions! And what are the expected CO2e emissions per kWh electricity generated? TDC needs to look at the development of storage for renewable energy to smooth out energy supplies, if it truly wishes to decarbonise.

I am one of the four who started ACTion on Climate in Teignbridge last year – we now have around 250 members as well as 250 people who belong to our Facebook page.
Over 50 of us are very active in all of the different areas that we cover: the Built Environment, Energy, Ecology, Food, Farming and Forestry, Transport, Public Engagement and Procurement.
We will be at Forde House to observe the Planning Committee on the 18th – and hope that we can once again celebrate the outstanding leadership of our Councillors.

with best wishes for the future,
Audrey Compton

Applications for similar gas-fired plant at Ivybridge (South Hams 3354/19/FUL ) and Woodbury (East Devon 19/0591/MFUL) have already been refused permission partly on the grounds of climate emergency.

Climate Workshop for Councillors and Clerks

Calling District, Town, Parish Councillors and Clerks throughout Teignbridge. You are invited to attend a forum on climate action to share knowledge and ideas. Choose a date and venue below and sign up.

Are you worried about declaring a climate emergency, wondering what the implications are for your council and community?

Are you struggling to take the next steps after making a declaration, or to formulate an action plan?

Have you made progress with your action plan that you could share with others?

Would you like to find out how other councils are developing their plans?

If any of these apply, please come along!

ACT (ACTion on Climate in Teignbridge), the voluntary group helping Teignbridge District Council tackle its carbon reduction initiative, has been in contact with like-minded groups around the country and has decided to hold a forum to share ideas and success stories.

ACT is currently putting together a comprehensive Climate Emergency Parish Pack and your experiences could contribute to it.

Speakers at the event include Phil Shears, Managing Director of Teignbridge District Council, as well as members of ACT.

There are two sessions for this event; one in Dawlish on Thursday 13th February 2020, the other in Ashburton on Wednesday 19th February 2020.

Dawlish Event

Thursday February 13th 2020 7pm to 9pm

If you would like to attend this event please click here.

Ashburton Event

Wednesday February 19th 2020 7pm to 9pm

If you would like to attend this event please click here.

Britain’s first zero emissions street

A heavily-polluted road which is partially enclosed will become Britain’s first zero-emissions street where all petrol and diesel cars will be banned.


  Read more here:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/12/16/britains-first-zero-emissions-street-ban-petrol-diesel-cars/

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/dec/17/london-to-get-uks-first-zero-emission-street

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/barbican-estates-beech-street-to-become-britains-first-24hour-zeroemissions-road-a4315221.html

https://www.fnlondon.com/articles/polluted-square-mile-street-to-become-uks-first-zero-emissions-road-20191216

https://londonist.com/london/transport/beech-street-to-become-london-s-first-zero-emission-road

Climate Emergency Question Time well attended

The event at Coombeshead Academy last thursday was well attended.

Here is a video of some of the answers. For most questions only one of the candidate’s answers is shown, in the hustings each candidate was given equal time to answer.

And some pictures from the event.

  • Arriving at the event

What people said about the event

Audrey Compton said:

Thank you so much for coming to Climate Questions on Thursday – it was a brilliant evening. Our six Green, Labour and Lib Dem candidates for Central Devon and Newton Abbot (Mel Stride and Anne Marie Morris DIDN’T come, I’m afraid) answered lots of the questions you’d sent in – and agreed on so many Climate and Environmental issues. How about a Climate Coalition, chaps? We also celebrated ACT’s achievements over the last five months – and looked ahead at our plans! Then we enjoyed mulled wine, mulled apple juice and delicious, local, unpackaged mince pies!!!! It was a really good evening – special thanks to nearly 30 ACT members who helped on the night and made it happen.

Dick de Vicq said; ” The event was well organised, well attended, and lively – with useful discussions over mulled wine/ tea afterwards. “

Gordon Hook said: “I attended the Action on Climate in Teignbridge hustings at Coombeshead Academy last evening. I’m pleased I did; a good night.
An almost full theatre witnessed six of the nine candidates standing for election next Thursday in Newton Abbot and Central Devon, answer a large number of questions, which had been pre-submitted by members of the audience.”

Teignbridge declares a climate emergency

April 2019

The following Notice of Motion was submitted by Councillor J Hook and supported by Councillors Connett, Dewhirst, Hayes, G Hook, Nutley, Parker and Wrigley.

Background

Council Notes:

  1. Humans have already caused irreversible climate change, the impacts of which are being felt around the world.  Global temperatures have already increased by 1 degree Celsius from pre-industrial levels. 
  2. In order to reduce the chance of runaway Global Warming and limit the effects of Climate Breakdown, it is imperative that we as a species reduce our CO2eq (carbon equivalent) emissions from their current 6.5 tonnes per person per year to less than 2 tonnes as soon as possible.
  3. Individuals cannot be expected to make this reduction on their own. Society needs to change its laws, taxation, infrastructure, etc., to make low carbon living easier and the new norm;
  4. Carbon emissions result from both production and consumption;
  5. Our current plans and actions are not enough.  The world is on track to overshoot the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degrees Celsius limit before 2050.
  6. The IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius, published in October 2018, describes the enormous harm that a 2 degrees Celsius rise is likely to cause compared to a 1.5 degrees Celsius, and told us that limiting Global Warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius may still be possible with ambitious action from national and sub-national authorities, civil society, the private sector, indigenous peoples and local communities.
  7. Local Councils around the world are responding by declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’ and committing resources to address this emergency.

Council believes that:

  1. All governments (national, regional and local) have a duty to limit the negative impacts of Climate Breakdown, and local governments that recognize this should not wait for their national governments to change their policies.  It is important for Teignbridge Council and other Councils to commit to carbon neutrality as quickly as possible.
  2. Towns, Cities and Local Authorities at all tiers are uniquely placed to lead the world in reducing carbon emissions; they are well placed to help decarbonize villages and more remote areas as they have closer links with their residents.
  3. Bold climate action can deliver economic benefits in terms of new jobs, economic savings and market opportunities, as well as improved personal, social and environmental well-being for people, locally and worldwide.

Motion:

Teignbridge District Council will,

  1. Declare a ‘climate emergency’
  2. Pledge to do what is within our powers, to make Teignbridge District carbon neutral by 2030, taking into account both production and consumption emissions.
  3. Call on Westminster to provide the powers and resources necessary for Teignbridge District to achieve the target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030, and to implement best practice methods to limit global warming to 1.5C.
  4. Report to Full Council within six months with an Action Plan, outlining how the Council will address this emergency. The Action Plan will detail the leadership role Teignbridge District will take in promoting community, public, business and other Council partnerships to achieve this Carbon Neutral 2030 Commitment throughout the District. The Action Plan will also outline adequate staff time and resources to undertake the actions to achieve the target.
  5. To investigate all possible sources of external funding and match funding to support this commitment