Club owned by Shell blocks small Thames hydropower scheme

Club succeeds with an appeal to stop planning permission for the west London project that would power 600 homes

A proposed small hydropower project in west London has received a further setback, as court judges allowed an appeal by a club owned by Shell against the granting of planning permission to the site.

The project, at Teddington lock and weirs, would deliver enough electricity to power about 600 homes. It is proposed by a local cooperative group, run by volunteers, who have raised a potential £700,000 to build the plant, which the proponents say would not have any damaging effect on fish in the Thames or other local wildlife.

However, a local leisure club owned by oil and gas giant Shell objected to the project. The Lensbury club was formerly a staff club for Shell employees, and is now run by the company as a leisure facility.

The club appealed against the granting of planning permission in May after its proposed judicial review of the project was rejected by the high court.

Judges ruled on Wednesday that the club’s appeal can be allowed, despite the council having previously granted permission for the plant to go ahead, because of flaws in the reasoning behind the planning green light.

The dispute raises questions over the future of small cooperative renewable energy projects in the UK, which have already suffered from changes to rules in taxation and planning permission.

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