Contrary to the numerous objections of the UK’s Shap Parish Council and the documented 36 objection letters received from nearby neighborhoods, the Eden District Council has approved of two gas–fueled electricity generating peaking plants to be built outside the town of Shap.
The construction of these two plants are a response to the uncertain supply and demand of energy, and support ”local grid and renewable energy” as per the projects proposal on March 18th. The proposal says that the project will ”support the UK’s commitment to a low carbon future by providing energy during peak times when required”.
Ali Ross, a local Green (Penrith North), argued against this project in front of the deciding council, saying, ”This development has been portrayed as renewable enabling and a low carbon associated development but as we have heard this is not the full representation of the case”1
One of the thirty–six outlined objections addresses that these gas–powered peaking plants will have the capacity to output approximately 90 000 tonnes of CO2e per year, running an estimated 4 000 hours per year.
Dr. Henry Adams, one of the key objectors to the project, explained during the council meeting that a step in this direction would ”make a mockery” of the same Eden Council declaring a climate emergency back in 20192.
Each of the two plants will be run by two different companies, Shap Energy Generation and Fell Energy Generation. Both argue for the urgent need of this mixed energy generation infrastructure3.
The concerns of the public are not limited to the new plants‘ emissions outputs. The letters for project rejection received during the public input stage of the proposal addressed noise pollution, negative visual impacts, site location, lack of a climate impact assessment and the overall misleading nature of this project when it uses the term ‘renewables’ throughout the project proposal.
Despite the objections, the project was approved. The committee stated that the projects’ proximity to a Tata Steel Plant, support of the UK’s commitment to a low carbon future, insignificant harm to local development and having no objection from Natural England, were enough to overrule other concerns.
Before her proposal was rejected, Ali Ross asked the council to consider how this will affect their children‘s future. Her proposal was not enough to change the decision of the voting council members and the project was approved 6 votes for, 4 against, with a construction approval for the next three years.