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Lensbury Club, owned by Shell Oil, defends its opposition to Teddington and Ham Hydro renewable energy scheme

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Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 13.50.03George Odling, Senior Reporter: 23 May 2016

A leisure club owned by Shell Oil has defended its position to block plans for a renewable energy scheme near its land.

Its decision, which has left council-tax payers footing the bill, has been blasted as “shameful” by a Teddington councillor.

Teddington’s Lensbury Club, wholly owned by the oil giant, is appealing a High Court dismissal of a review into Richmond Council’s decision to grant planning permission to the Teddington and Ham Hydro scheme.

Lensbury’s CEO said it operated independently of its oil-owners and bringing Shell into the mix smacked of outdated ’80s green activism.

FROM MAY 5: High Court dismisses judicial review into Ham Hydro scheme by Lensbury Club

The scheme involves demolishing part of Teddington Lock weir and building three turbines in order to generate power.

A judicial review into the council’s decision to grant planning permission was dismissed earlier this month.

Teddington councillor Stephen Knight criticised the club and its oil company owner for attempting to block a scheme for renewable energy.

He said: “To make matters worse, this legal battle with Richmond Council is costing taxpayers money.

“This is because Shell is using rules designed to help communities challenge governments over environmental matters to limit its obligation to pay the council’s legal costs in this battle. This is shameful.”

The Lensbury is objecting on several grounds, including the visual impact on a conservation area, increased noise and the effect it will have on the club’s wedding business.

Chief executive Lacy Curtis-Ward said though the club is owned by Shell, it operates completely independently and the fight against the hydro scheme has nothing to do with the oil firm.

She dismissed the comments bringing Shell into the argument as “a battle cry of the green activism of the 1980s”, and described it as an “old-fashioned, outmoded argument.”

Ms Curtis-Ward said: “My board is concerned about the Lensbury and our objections have nothing to do with Shell.”

A spokesman from Shell said both the oil firm and the leisure club strongly supported the principle of a hydro-electric power development on Teddington weir.

He added: “However, we understand that Lensbury is concerned that the current development plan doesn’t fully address environmental effects, noise issues, flood risk during construction and impact on conservation areas.”

The scheme, which has so far raised more than £700,000, must be operational by March 2018 to receive its government green energy subsidy payments.

The Hydro’s communications director, Jono Adams, said the group hoped to begin building by summer next year.

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