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Company gets green light to set up in Dumfries

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Dumfries and West
Company gets green light to set up in Dumfries

A RENEWABLE energy firm which will be setting up home in Dumfries has given assurances to worried residents living nearby.

Geocore was last week given planning permission by Dumfries and Galloway Council to create a green energy production site at Kellwood Road Business Park.

Residents Charles Kerr and Stephanie Marr, who live close to the site in Caledonian Place, wrote a letter to the council objecting to the plans. They were concerned about noise levels, fire and explosion risks, and an intrusion of privacy on their property due to the company intending to install CCTV cameras.

They wrote: “The house is surrounded by the bus station operating 24/7, train station operating 24/7, busy Eastfield Road, and Scottish Power generator systems operating 24/7 – which all already create high level of noise, landscape and air pollution, and environmental damage.

“The battery storage system would double the noise level.”

However, an agent representing the company at the council’s planning committee, confirmed that steps have been taken to reduce noise levels.

James Lightbody, project manager for Natural Power, acting on behalf of Geocore, said: “We provide a comprehensive noise assessment, which takes cognisance of the surrounding area and provides a full model of the development within the existing environment.

“This has recommended noise reduction measurements, such as the four metre high acoustic wall. This shows the impact on residential amenity has been addressed.”

He also added that the batteries will be lithium ion, meaning that no concentrated acids would be stored on site, and that the condition of the batteries will be monitored 24/7 with fire prevention systems in place.

“The CCTV are for the protection of our site and will be angled onto our yards. They won’t in any way be looking into the residential properties,” he said.

Nith Councillor David Slater asked about noise levels and pointed out that inverters can be quite noisy, and that battery units will have to be cooled.

Replying, Robert Duncan said: “I’m glad the question has been asked, it’s a key issue.

“The units, as I understand, are containerised but they do need to be cooled to the correct operational level.

“As I understand it, they’re almost like air conditioning units which do generate noise.

“Recognising the potential for land use conflict and noise nuisance, I did consult with the council’s environmental health officer. They’ve come back with no objections, subject to conditions listed in the report.”

Lochar Councillor Ivor Hyslop was told noise complaints would be the remit of environmental health.

Geocore’s agent, Mr Lightbody, said that these types of battery storage setups for renewable energy are “going to play a major role in Scotland’s route to net zero”.

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