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Battery Energy Storage Systems

Although Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) is not a statutory consultee as part of the Local Authority planning process, the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) strongly encourages applicants and local authorities to engage with their Fire and Rescue Service throughout the planning process. This is outlined in the government guidance on planning for renewable and low carbon energy.

The NFCC has produced guidance for Fire and Rescue Services which gives recommendations on Grid Scale Battery Energy Storage System Planning. This guidance specifically relates to grid scale battery energy storage systems in open air environments, using lithium-ion batteries.

We would expect that any pre consultation sent to us outlines how your proposed site meets the expectations of this guidance document. Once you have considered this document, and provided us with a detailed response, we will be able to consult on your proposal.

Our expectation is that a comprehensive risk management process is undertaken by operators to identify hazards and risks specific to the facility and develop, implement, maintain, and review risk controls. From this process, a robust Emergency Response Plan should be developed.

Whilst every site is different, the NFCC guidance will be used by the Service to evaluate the proposal. With early engagement and advice using the guidance, appropriate control measures can be put in place to minimise disruption and harm to people, property and the environment.

Please email any queries or consultations regarding Grid Scale Battery Energy Storage Systems that are proposed to be or are in Berkshire to your local Fire Safety Office.

Case Study: Gothenburg Battery Energy Storage System Explosion

At around noon on Friday, 26 April, 2024, 112 calls were received about a fire and smoke development from container containing lithium-ion batteries at a warehouse in the Sisjön’s industrial area near Gothenburg, Sweden. Read more about the incident.