FIRE chiefs have asked for careful consideration to water supply levels if a battery storage proposal for a site near Lytchett Minster is to go ahead.

A decision on the application had been delayed while the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue views were sought.

The application remains open to public consultation now until the end of the month.

The fire and rescue service have told Dorset Council that while research continues into the best way to deal with fire at lithium battery storage sites they need to be assured of "a suitable water supply" for the site as copious amounts of water would be needed in the event of a fire.

The service says its staff have been trained to deal with incidents at mass battery storage site and would not object to the Lytchett Minster proposals, provided at the early design stage water supply and other safety aspects were planned for.

"The proposed safety measures should cover the construction, operational and decommissioning phases of the project. Any development should not negatively impact on the Service's ability to respond to an incident. The Responsible Person must carry out and regularly review the Fire Risk Assessment and Risk Management Plan. It is our recommendation that before planning permission is granted, the layout, access and provision of a suitable water supply comply as far as is reasonably practicable should meet the minimum requirements."

The two hectare farm site is at Post Farm, Lytchett Minster, to the west of Upton, and includes a battery energy storage system, associated infrastructure to get power to and from the National Grid, security fencing and a CCTV system.

Connection to the grid will be via an underground cable at the Upton Heath substation which will run under the A350 Blandford Road North, if approved. The battery units will take in power when demand on the Grid is low, releasing the stored power at times of peak demand.

Dorset Council's strategic planning committee were being recommended to grant planning consent for the site, claiming the design is acceptable in terms of scale, design and impact on the landscape although it lies within the Green Belt where development is only normally allowed in exceptional circumstances.

None of the statutory consultees has objected to the proposal, including Lytchett Minster and Upton Town Council with no public representations, either for or against.

The applicants, S4N Lytchett Ltd, say they have prepared a plan to deal with occasional surface water flooding on parts of the site, by connecting to an existing drain.