Installation of a Steam Methane Reformation (SMR) unit for the production of hydrogen from methane extracted from Albury wellsite including: compressor unit, surge tank, nitrogen supply tank and electrical module and a tanker loading area on some 0.5 hectares, and use of the access track for export of the hydrogen for a temporary period with restoration to commercial forestry.
Janine Wright, Principal Planning Officer
The Local Member, Bob Hughes, joined the meeting virtually and made the following comments:
1. Thanked officers for the report.
2. Stated that Members would have received an email from a resident from Albury and stated that the resident spoke for the community.
3. Stated that every kilogram of hydrogen that was produced as blue hydrogen produced 9.3 kilograms of carbon.
4. Stated that although he hoped the committee would refuse the application, if Members were minded to approve then carbon capture should be a requirement. If refused, the local Member asked that one of the reasons be due to the absence of carbon capture.
5. That the proposal would adversely impact Albury Park which was within the Surrey Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The Member added that the local ancient woodland and sports field would also be impacted.
6. Stated that iGas claimed that the hydrogen would be transported in 28 – 35 Heavy Good Vehicles (HGVs) a week which conflicted with a claim to produce 1000 kilograms of hydrogen a day which would only require 9 – 14 HGVs.
7. Stated that the application contradicted Government policy, AONB policy, Surrey County Council green policies, and ignored the Guildford Local Plan.
Key points raised during the discussion:
1. The Chairman introduced the item. The Planning Officer provided Members with a brief overview of the proposal which was for the installation of a Steam Methane Reformation (SMR) unit for the production of hydrogen from methane extracted from Albury wellsite including: compressor unit, surge tank, nitrogen supply tank and electrical module and a tanker loading area on some 0.5 hectares, and use of the access track for export of the hydrogen for a temporary period with restoration to commercial forestry. Full details of the proposal, including photographs and plans presented to Members, could be found within the report. Members also noted the reasons for the officer recommendation to refuse the planning application which were outlined in the report.
2. A Member thanked the case officer for the detailed report and stated that they agreed with the officer recommendation to refuse the application due to the potential carbon impact. The Member added that the potential to have carbon capture on such a small site in the location was virtually zero. Another Member also said that they supported the officer recommendation.
3. In regard to the local Member’s comment related to an email circulated by a resident, the Chairman and a Member of the committee said that they do not believed it was received.
4. A Member of the Committee stated that they were happy with the reasons for refusal but noted they did not include reference to carbon capture. Officers explained that there were no policies within the Guildford Local Plan or Surrey Minerals Plan that referred specially to carbon capture emissions.
5. The Chairman moved the officer recommendation which received unanimous support.
Actions / further information to be provided:
The Committee refused planning application GU21/CON/00038 for the reasons outlined within the officer report.