Plans for a battery storage energy facility in Kilwinning have been called into question following a recent fire at a battery recycling plant in the town.

The Scottish Government’s Energy Consents Unit consulted the council as planning authority on an application by Flemyland Battery Storage Ltd for the installation of a battery energy storage system and associated infrastructure with a generating capacity of up to 100MW.

North Ayrshire councillors were asked for their feedback on the application for an area of undeveloped farmland to the southeast of the Goldcraigs Road depot on the B778.

But independent councillor Ian Murdoch raised concerns in the light of the blaze which destroyed the Fenix Battery Recycling centre on Byrehill Place on April 8. 

Pennyburn Road, which runs adjacent to the fire area, was initially closed to the public before re-opening the following day and Cllr Murdoch voiced concern about the lack of a fire plan.

Those living nearby were being advised to stay indoors and close all doors and windows although there were no casualties as a result of the incident.

Cllr Murdoch said: “Previously the site was screened for Environmental Impact Assessment purposes in 2023 and the conclusion was it was not required.

"Why is this when you take into account the recent battery fire in Kilwinning?

"My concern is that we should be prepared in terms of emergency services.”

The total site of the new proposal covers an area of approximately eight hectares of agricultural land and woodland, with the area to be developed around 1.5 hectares.

The site is located in the rural area approximately one kilometre from the northeast edge of the town. 

The proposed site access would be opposite the Goldcraigs Road depot, with an existing field gate to be widened. 

There are several houses near to the north boundary, although the distance from the houses to the nearest parts of the site to be developed would be greater than 100 metres. 

Planning committee chair Cllr Robert Foster said members should not speculate too much about the recent battery factory fire as an investigation was under way.

Planning official Allan Finlayson said the report did not consider matters of public safety or otherwise and he could only consider what was in front of the committee.

Conservative councillor Cameron Inglis said he had “grave concerns” over the lack of emergency service planning and urged that this should be included in NAC's response.

Kilwinning SNP councillor Scott Davidson said he was aware of the recent battery fire in Kilwinning, close to houses, and very aware of the difference between battery energy storage systems and processes of recycling of lithium batteries.

But he said:  “Goldcraigs is 150 to 250 metres away from houses, considerably more distant than Byrehill.”

It was agreed to make a consultation response but include concern from members about emergency services planning.

However, Cllr Murdoch abstained from the response vote and said:  “I am not sure about the application as a whole and don’t want to be seen to supporting it as I have grave reservations.”