Energy firm confirmed its intention to revive plans to install battery farm in Yorkshire

An energy firm has confirmed its intention to revive plans to install a battery farm in south Leeds.

Firma Vogt withdrew proposals to put up a battery storage facility on farmland on Westfield Road in Carlton, in April, following a backlash from the local community.

Chief among objectors’ concerns was the risk of fire linked to such sites, with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service also saying the danger of an explosion is “unfortunately very real”.

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Firma Vogt insists the facility would be safe and claims it’s made “improvements” to the scheme, although it has yet to submit the changed planning application to Leeds City Council.

The proposed site, off Westfield Road in Rothwell.The proposed site, off Westfield Road in Rothwell.
The proposed site, off Westfield Road in Rothwell.

The company said the facility would be smaller than initially proposed and would be positioned further south, away from residential homes, which it said would remove the need for noise barriers.

It claimed making the facility shorter would improve the biodiversity net gain associated with the development.

Company director Andrew Jones said: “We have listened to the valuable feedback from the local community, and we are proud to present our new and improved proposals.

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“These improvements have been designed to considerably reduce the potential impact on local residents, and address comments given by local stakeholders. Westfield BESS (battery energy storage system) can play a key role in securing energy security in a way which will directly benefit local people.”

The company said that, if approved, the site would provide power for up to 14,000 homes a year.

Battery farms take in power from renewable energy sources and then pump it back out onto the grid during times of high demand, making them appealing from an environmental perspective.

But concerns around fire safety stem from the lithium within the batteries, which can cause an explosion when it overheats.

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This happened at a battery plant in Liverpool in 2020, while there have also been well-documented cases of e-bike batteries setting on fire too.

A separate planning application for a battery farm in Allerton Bywater was submitted by a different firm, Harmony Energy, at the end of last month.

The company said it uses “different technology” to that used at the plant in Liverpool.