Cllr pam redford & Cllr Trevor Wright's statement to the wdc planning committee re: The gigafactory
Members of the planning committee you have before you a monumental application in both terms of size, production technology, environmental challenges, and public opinion.
Whilst I understand the economic and employment advantages to a Gigafactory, there has also to be a consideration of the effect a facility of this size has on the local residents and their living environment, such as noise, and light pollution, air quality, traffic issues and the destruction of their once quite village. Not just for the time of the construction period but forward into the future with HGV’s a constant noise issue for a facility that will be a 24/7 process. “You saw for yourselves on Saturday just how close to Baginton this facility would be.
This new technology is in its exceedingly early stages. Lithium is a hazardous material and presents a new challenge to Fire Services, not just in the UK but across the world. A range of hazards can be realised if the lithium-ion batteries become unstable through overheating, crushing or penetration. it is combustible and reactive and may ignite in air, poisonous gases are produced in fire and containers may explode in fire. Other hazards can include high velocity directional flame, toxic gases and explosive vapour clouds – caused by a phenomenon known as “thermal runaway”. A battery Gigafactory in Australia burned for 3 days, releasing all the aforementioned hazards into the environment, clearly a serious potential heath and safety issue. These fires cannot be extinguished at the present time, they can only be controlled and left to burn out whilst protecting surrounding risks.
There are approximately 8-10 facility such as this proposed Gigafactory around the world; all of which are sited, in the main, in remote places with little or no local homes or other employment sites surrounding them. I question that a facility such as this should be sited on the very edge of a small local village.
This Council is heavily committed to the Climate Emergency and Green policies. For those of us who wish for a greener environment I ask you to consider the energy required to power such a facility, not just in its development stages, but into the future. Remember the rule of unintended consequences!
Moving on to the end user – at this precise moment there is none. Can we seriously consider a huge Gigafactory without a company ready and willing to take this project forward. Will we be left once again with a huge white elephant as in the JLR site just along the road from this site?
The factory will be a 24/7 operation. Whilst I recognise there will be encouragement for employees to use sustainable transport and cycleways these things take time to develop.
Car users are in some cases reluctant to forgo their cars, so the sustainable transport aspirations may be seriously undermined. The village would then be left in a worst case scenario.
There are too many unknowns at this time and certainly some very serious health and safety issue to be considered and addressed
For the reasons I have mentioned and for the many other objections heard this evening we cannot at this time support this application for outlined planning consent.
Cllr Pam Redford & Cllr Trevor Wright
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All blogs are written or edited by Cllr Pam Redford & Cllr Trevor Wright