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Diesel generator in Bristol rejected due to air pollution concerns

A diesel generator planned for St Philips in Bristol has once again been rejected, this time on appeal. The decision comes after campaigning by local residents and months of campaigning by the local Green Party about the illegal and unsafe levels of air pollution in the city. The opposition to the proposed diesel power plant, which was to be built just a few hundred meters from a primary school, was a key component to the campaigns.  

Jon Eccles, a local Green Party campaigner who lives close to the planned site in Lawrence Hill welcomed the decision saying,  

“This is a great result for Bristol and especially for the people of Lawrence Hill. We are already suffering from the emissions from all the traffic passing through east Bristol to the city centre. Residents’ health would have been further affected by the generators themselves and the extra diesel lorries that would have been necessary.  

He continued,   

The company behind the scheme, Plutus, are not an energy company but an investment vehicle. They have no interest in our community, their only interest is to tap into government subsidies. We are proud in Lawrence Hill to be the home of some pioneering community energy projects that produce clean, affordable, and safe energy.” 

Cllr Clive Stevens who spoke against the proposed power plants both welcomed the decision and the strong community campaign but warned against any complacency.  In his statement to Development Control Committee B, he said, 

"The inspector's report said that the Council made an error by not considering the health of people working nearby, especially anyone working in the early evening. The air pollution would then be over the legal limits for them. Therefore, that meant extra information was needed, for example why these particular diesel engines are supposedly so much better than others and about the applicant's intention regarding other trials or use of other equipment to further reduce NOx levels. Unfortunately, this judgment leaves it open for anyone to reapply once they can provide the necessary information."  

Greens continue to highlight that the grounds for accepting or rejecting such plans are set by government, not by the council or community.  

Cllr Clive Stevens explains,  

“It is against the rules to consider a development’s effect on global warming. There is also no mention in the inspector’s report of the development’s impact on inequality on Bristol, a major theme in the mayor’s campaign to be elected. This is something, as Greens, we will continue to challenge at every step”.

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