I’ve received a large number of emails from residents concerned about proposals for gas and diesel-powered standby electricity generation plants in Bristol. There are three planning proposals for sites in or near Bristol West: in St Werburghs, St Philip’s Marsh and Lockleaze.

I am very concerned about the effect on air quality, which is already worryingly poor in this part of the city, should these proposals be accepted. Several schools are near the proposed sites, where substations will be emitting damaging particulates such as nitrogen dioxide. There are also concerns about traffic, noise pollution, local wildlife and visual impact. I have submitted objections to the St Werburghs and St Philip’s Marsh proposals, which are within Bristol West.

The government has engaged in a cull of programmes – mostly introduced by the last Labour government – to support the renewable energy sector. There have been many similar applications for gas and diesel substations all over the country – financially incentivised by a government scheme to encourage generation of backup energy capacity. I am so concerned at the shift away from renewables and back to fossil fuels under this government, with the go-ahead given to fracking just another example. This is both terrible for our environment and also ignores the potential of renewable energy production to support jobs and growth.

Local councillors have called in these applications to Development Control Committee (B), where a group of councillors will hear evidence and take into account the views of residents before deciding to accept or reject the applications. This will happen on 9 December, at 2pm in Colston Hall, Colston Street, BS1 5AR, and the meeting is open to the public. Although the deadline for submitting objections to the planning proposal has officially passed, comments may still be considered if submitted before the date of the meeting.

A new community group has been set up in response to these proposals. RADE (Residents Against Dirty Energy) have already held public meetings and protested outside Bristol City Council’s full council meeting. You can find out more about this issue on their website, www.radebristol.com. Labour councillors and council candidates are working with RADE on campaigning against these proposals.

Throughout my time as MP I will be making the case for a renewable future for energy in Britain, and standing up against a government energy policy that represents a poor deal for the environment, for communities and for taxpayers.

Links for planning proposals and comments:

St Werburghs
St Philip’s Marsh

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