A new battery storage unit on 1.9 hectares of farm land will not impact the environment, according to Havering Council.

An application was made on November 13 to seek a ‘screening opinion’ to develop a 100-megawatt battery energy storage system (BESS) on land to the north of Warley Substation on Clay Tye Road.

The Siemens Energy website defines BESS as “rechargeable batteries that can store energy from different sources, including renewable, and discharge it when needed”. They are said to be highly efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable energy storage solutions.

The proposed development is for installation of battery storage containers, transformers, a substation and other electrical equipment to support renewable energy generation.

Read More: Plan to build 1,070 new homes and school in Romford

The site at Clay Tye Road had two other BESS schemes approved in the past that are currently being constructed. In 2016, a massive new solar park was built adjacent to Clay Tye Farm.

The current application sought the council’s confirmation that if the new BESS were to erected, the plan will not need an environmental impact assessment (EIA).

The plans, once implemented, will change the current agricultural land use of the site for 40 years. Havering Council has given the required go ahead in its decision on December 21.

A report attached on the council’s website says the site is currently being used for grazing and the land is of “poor agricultural quality” that cannot support arable crops.

However, it said that the scale of the development will be highly noticeable in the wider landscape, where views are possible from outside the site.

It added: “It will likely have landscape impact and although there is vegetation running along the southern boundary and the Warley Substation screens, it is considered that the combination of the site area of the existing and proposed BESS use would result in noticeable physical changes."

The proposed BESS and arrays are located within the Green Belt and batteries and storage containers will require use of minerals and natural resources in their construction, it said.

The construction work will also reportedly consume fossil fuels, but the scale of the resource use is not considered to be significant in terms of the EIA, as per the council.

The council further suggested that the development will not impact any nearby heritage assets and while a small portion of the unit falls within flood zones 2 and 3, meaning the area is more likely to flood, the majority will be on flood zone 1, where there is the least chance of flooding. 

The applicant is nonetheless required to get a Flood Risk Assessment done.

With the EIA not required for the proposal, a planning application could next be submitted for the construction of the BESS.