Regulators are warning of ‘significant concerns’ over plans to store hundreds of tonnes of flammable gas at Barry Docks.
The plans would see the Windward Terminal, a two-acre site off Atlantic Way, transformed into a storage and distribution centre for liquid petroleum gases like propane and butane.
Harp International currently has a similar operation on the Gelli-Hirion Industrial Estate near Pontypridd, but is looking to move to Barry and has recently applied for planning permission.
But Natural Resources Wales told planners at Vale of Glamorgan council of concerns about a lack of detail in the plans. Barry town council has also called for more information.
The site would store up to 200 tonnes of liquid petroleum gas and 100 tonnes of other flammable liquids. Lorries would bring gas to the site in bulk tankers, which would then be decanted into smaller bottles before being sent out to commercial customers.
Claire McCorkindale, development planning adviser at NRW, said: “We have significant concerns with the proposed development.”
She added more details are needed about how foul and surface water will be drained, and whether the tanks storing the gas will be above or below ground. Underground tanks could need extra measures to protect nearby water sources.
She said: “The planning application forms states that foul and surface water is to be discharged to the mains sewer. However, we understand that the proposed development site does not lie within an area served by a public sewer network.
“If below ground, we request the applicant provide details on the tank design and whether the tanks will be sub-water table as mitigation measures may be required to be protective of controlled waters.”
Plaid Councillor Millie Collins, who represents the ward, is calling for the Vale council’s planning committee to decide whether to approve permission, rather than planning officers, due to “high public interest” in the application.
Cllr Collins said: “As a local councillor for Barry Docks and chair of the council’s homes and safe communities committee, I think it’s important that residents are made aware of any changes to the potentially hazardous materials stored locally.
“Natural Resources Wales have expressed significant concerns on two counts on this application, and the quantity of materials being stored under these proposals bring them under the COMAH regulations — the Control of Major Accident Hazards.
“Local environmental groups such as Friends of the Earth have already contacted me about this, and I know they will be looking at the plans themselves.
“As a matter of transparent decision making, I’ve asked that this should be brought before the council’s planning committee, rather than decided by officers.”
Barry town council is “strongly objecting” to the planning application, due to a lack of details and the potential impact on neighbours living nearby.
David Watkins, planning officer at Barry town council, said: “The planning application is premature as the applicants have failed to provide satisfactory information and details.
“The proposed development will be detrimental to the current residential amenity enjoyed by local residents by virtue of noise; traffic flows and general disturbance.”
Planning consultants AJ Carter, on behalf of Harp International, said the site would be well away from any houses or shops, and would allow the business to grow, creating new jobs.
They said: “The site has been selected to avoid possible conflict with higher occupancy sensitive land uses such as retail or residential. A successful Hazardous Substance Consent with the Health and Safety Executive would result in a consultation zone around the site.
“However, since the surrounding uses are both low occupancy and low density their day-to-day to operations would not change as a result of the consultation zone.
“The proposals achieve a beneficial reuse of a brownfield site at Barry Docks, which would enable an existing and established business in the Vale of Glamorgan to expand to a new site and increase their turnover and viability, resulting in new employment roles.”