Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has announced that it has granted Biomass UK No 2 Ltd a permit to operate its gasification facility in Barry.
The decision follows an extensive assessment of the company’s plans, and several consultations with local people and professional bodies including Public Health Wales and South Wales Fire and Rescue.
The company has demonstrated that it can meet all the legal, environmental, technological and health requirements of UK, Welsh and European law, so NRW has no defensible grounds to refuse the permit.
Copies of NRW’s decision document, and the conditions which have been set for the permit are available to view online. The conditions set appropriate legal limits for things like emissions from the facility, and dictate the types of material it can process, and how it stores waste.
Nadia De Longhi, Operations Manager from Natural Resources Wales said:
“Over the last 14 months our experts have thoroughly scrutinised every aspect of the company’s application and considered all representations made to us. We have also accepted advice from other experts outside of the organisation on important issues such as people’s health and fire prevention.
“We are confident that the company has all the right plans and processes in place to be able to operate this facility without damaging people’s health or the environment.
“The conditions we have set in the permit require it to operate to the Best Available Techniques (BAT). Once it starts operating, we will monitor activity at the site to make sure it continues to work within the agreed conditions of its permit.”
NRW’s decision relates solely to the Environmental Permit which is legally required for the facility to operate. NRW does not have legal powers to consider issues such as the suitability of the location – this was considered when the company applied to the Vale of Glamorgan Council for planning permission.
Vale MP Alun Cairns said, “I’m not only disappointed, but also angry, that NRW have taken the decision to grant the permit. The Welsh Government and local Assembly Members must be held to account for this dreadful decision.
“One of the first things I did when elected as an MP was to give evidence at the planning enquiry against the application for an incinerator, only for this to be overruled by the Welsh Government. Now the Welsh Government have overruled the opinion of Barry residents too.”
Cllr John Thomas, Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan council, said: “I am well aware of how contentious the subject of the gasification plant is with residents and communities and I fully appreciate their concerns. The original planning application to erect a plant at Barry Docks was refused by the Council in 2010, but that decision was regrettably overturned on appeal by a Welsh Government appointed Inspector. The ramifications of that decision to residents and communities of Barry and the wider Vale of Glamorgan are now clear for all to see.
“The issuing of a permit was a matter for Natural Resources Wales and their decision to issue the permit is deeply disappointing. As an administration, we remain committed to ensuring that the plant is properly and independently monitored”
Vale Assembly Member Jane Hutt said “This decision is bitterly disappointing for the people of Barry and the Vale. I am today calling for an Environmental Impact Assessment -I have consistently called for this and the Welsh Government needs to confirm that this will take place.
I want to pay special tribute to the Docks Incinerator Action Group (DIAG) whose members have worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the threat posed by the Incinerator which has been built in the middle of Barry and so close to homes, schools, hospitals and shops.
The Incinerator carries risks of Toxic Pollution, Severe Fire Risk of woodchip storage, Flood and Storm Surge.
I do not concede that the DIAG campaign is over and I will continue to work with its members and to lobby the agencies with whom we have already established a dialogue. These include Natural Resources Wales, Associated British Ports, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Public Health Wales, The Health and Safety Executive and The Office of the Future Generations Commission.
I will continue to strongly object to the granting of this permit, particularly while there remain a number of issues, including Air Quality Assessment, Noise Assessment, Fuel Safety, Fire Safety, Consultation process and Failure to disclose information.”