Fuad’s speech to TDC planning committee against the Heathfield Power Station

I’m representing ACT, but hopefully speaking on behalf of all those who are concerned about this Gas-fired Power Plant proposal.  Here is an example of what some ACT members have said:

“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”

I’m sure that most of you appreciate why we have a Climate Emergency, rather than just a challenge.  If you don’t, I urge you to come and talk to ACT.

Although your Climate Emergency declaration and the community’s concerns are serious enough reasons to reject this application, they are only indirectly referenced in current legally binding planning policies, they may not convince a planning inspector when it goes to appeal.  So, here are the reasons for objecting under current planning policy.

Right from the outset we formally asked for simple facts in relation to what the need is and what the resulting impact would be of this development.  The reason we asked is exactly because of the statement in the report from the officer/developer (#3.28) “The principle of the proposed development is finely balanced”. 

Neither the planning officer nor you as the Planning Committee could possibly make a determination without this basic information.

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.

We have documented the main shortcomings of this quite lengthy, but not so informative, planning report.  I don’t have the time to go through it in any detail, but I would like to highlight the key points.

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%.

Under these intended operating periods, the CO2 emissions from this one relatively small plant would add  nearly 5,000 Tonnes of CO2 every year.  These are significant additional emissions which run contrary to S7 & EN3 requirement for new development to reduce CO2 emissions. 

Even worse, the declared operating period directly blocks additional renewable generation whether local or elsewhere.  Electricity takes the route of least resistance and favours existing generation.  The irony of course is that there are technologically existing and affordable Low-Carbon alternatives to deal with Peaking demand.

Instead we would argue that unless the developer can provide actual evidence which supports their claims of adherence to the NPPF, LP and previous inspectors’ rulings to deliver Peaking requirements in the area (i.e. very restricted operating periods), this application should be rejected.

Finally, we are also concerned that there is no planning condition set which makes sure that the EA analysis and ultimately permission for operating, includes the increased risk from Nitrogen Oxides on those using the very close walking/cycling path which is in the line of the prevailing wind from the plant chimney.  The EA calculations submitted by the developer and accepted by the planning officer do not include the full context of where this plant is to be located, which is why it ‘marginally’ passes EA calculations.