A CAMPAIGN group has been formed to fight against plans for a battery storage facility which members say would 'ruin' the countryside near Malmesbury.

Pelagic Energy want to build the facility on land at Southfield Farm between Lea and Malmesbury.

The fields earmarked for development

The fields earmarked for development

The development would be connected to the grid via Minety substation, storing power when there is excess supply and feeding it back to the grid at times of high demand.

It would consist of 60 containers and 32 transformer stations, while a 1.5km access track would be built from the B4042.

A design and access statement submitted on behalf of the developer states this will provide a flexible back-up power source to cope with fluctuations due to a greater use of renewable energy sources and help avoid blackouts.

It also said storage needs to increase significantly in the next few years if the national target of net zero emissions by 2050 is to be met.

"The UK is facing a once in a lifetime requirement to address our future energy demands and ensure a system that is fit for purpose is developed," it said.

But the planning application has received dozens of objections, and has been criticised by North Wiltshire MP James Gray.

BESS (Battery Energy Storage System) Action Group has also been formed to fight the application.

Chief among the objections are the fact the development is on a greenfield site.

Jonathan Forrest, leader of BESS Action Group, said: "It's an extraordinary thing to be doing. It's wholly inappropriate.

Jonathan Forrest, leader of BESS Action Group

Jonathan Forrest, leader of BESS Action Group

"We are pro green energy but you don't deliver green energy by industrialising the countryside."

Mr Gray said it was 'completely wrong' and solar farm and battery farm developments such as these were 'ruining our countryside'.

North Wiltshire MP James Gray

North Wiltshire MP James Gray

"These things are appearing all over Wiltshire," he said.

"The technology may well be out of date in a short period of time.

"We need our fields to be used for food production.

"I'm in favour of renewables but opposed to them being in the middle of the countryside."

A public meeting about the planning application is being held at 7pm on Friday at St Giles Church, Lea.