FROM DOCKS INCINERATOR ACTION GROUP:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 8th March 2018
Barry residents suffer as NRW and council pass the buck over incinerator testing and giant wood pile store which has triggered breathing difficulties in local people.
This is DIAG’s latest update on the situation around the Barry incinerator, which is located 200m (100m from future homes) and recently received an operating permit from Natural Resources Wales.
Current activities at the incinerator: construction? Commissioning? Cleaning? Depends who you ask!
Neither Natural Resources Wales (NRW) or the Vale Of Glamorgan Council (VOG) seem to be able to agree as to the precise nature of the current activities at the incinerator. NRW claim that the Operator is still in the ‘construction phase and VOG claim that this is pre-commissioning work. Whilst residents continue to report an unpleasant burning odour.
We have grave concerns over these activities – NRW and the VOG council’s regulator Shared Regulatory Services (SRS) are passing the buck to each other. Neither will take responsibility and Barry residents are getting different information from NRW, Shared Regulatory Services and Aviva’s consultants.
The uncovered wood store which has appeared on the site next to the incinerator. Described variously as not related to the Incinerator and a ‘feeder site’ for the Incinerator– again it depends who is describing it.
On the site next door to the incinerator is now located a giant wood store. It is uncovered on Barry dock, within around 300m of homes. Such stores pose a potential risk to health because of wood dust, fire risk and wood waste appears to have been blown into the dock.
This has been given a standard permit by NRW (which didn’t require public consultation)
Standard Permits in England and Wales – devolution means that NRW have made a decision to implement different rules.
In England we understand handling over 5,000 tonnes a year requires a bespoke permit, which would mean there would be a public consultation. Any wood-chip store within 200m of homes and workplaces needs a bespoke permit, because wood-dust is harmful.
As far as we know in Wales these wood stores holding up to 75,000 tonnes a year still only need a standard permit, hence why this one was issued without a public consultation. There are also additional safeguards for workers and places of work in the English Standard Rules.
DIAG question why Welsh workers and residents in Wales should not be provided with the same protection as those in England.
Confusing information provided to the public by South Wales Fire and Rescue Service
The South Wales Fire and Rescue Service intend to perform their risk assessment ‘when the site is operational’ yet in the same communication to DIAG, claims that the site began accepting waste wood 3 weeks ago.
DIAG have asked the Chief Fire Officer how a site which stores wood can not be operational when it has already begun to store wood.
The wood piles are in violation of the JMEL fire prevention plan, of which we have a copy:
• The maximum height is supposed to be 4 metres, but it’s the height of the 5m walls, and is not sheltered by them.
• The maximum width (2-sided access) should be 10m, but it’s near to the 35m diameter of the cross-walls.
• The separation between the piles at each cross-wall (of the 4 quadrants) is supposed to be 9 metres, but it’s zero. We have photos to show this.
• The Standard rules SR2011 No4
Treatment of waste wood for recovery:
“The operator shall manage and operate the activities in accordance with a written fire prevention plan using the current, relevant fire prevention plan guidance”. These separation distances are prescribed by that guidance
The Fire Evacuation Plan is not available or complete
The fire permit concedes that a fire would possibly result in the need for an evacuation of residents – as far as we are can ascertain, no comprehensive evacuation plan for this densely populated area has been put in place.
According to the standard permit we also understand from sec 3.1.2
The operator shall:
(a) if notified by Natural Resources Wales that the activities are giving rise to pollution, submit to Natural Resources Wales for approval within the period specified, an emissions management plan?
Given the documented rise in public complaints surrounding the site, and in order to ensure the public’s immediate well being. We are concerned that the Construction Environmental Management Plan has been repeatedly ignored and unenforced by the VoG Council.
Barry people overwhelmingly reject this incinerator and DIAG will continue work to stop it, but in proceeding with it, the Vale Of Glamorgan Council and Natural Resources Wales MUST show the safety and monitoring procedures we were assured of are actually implemented and regulations enforced, in order that the highest level of protection afforded to Barry residents.
Note to Editor:
The company running the wood store is JM ENVIROFUELS (BARRY) Ltd (JMEL), which is part of the Jack Moody Group. The JMEL directors are Jack Moody and Robert Moody.
They are also directors of Jack Moody Ltd: www.beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/01332853/officers
This received several enforcement notices and a fine of 32k pounds relating to a facility in England. Here are the enforcement notices against them. www.environment.data.gov.uk/public-register/enforcement-action/registration?name-search=jack moody&actionType&offenceType&agencyFunction&after&before
Here’s a story about the fine: www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/local-news/companys-90k-fine-over-smell-128345
Also, we have seen South Wales Wood Recycling delivering supplies – we have photos of their lorries arriving. We don’t know why they were there – but we are guessing they are subcontractors. They have been previously been prosecuted over wood fires. We understand from Newport Crown court records that South Wales Wood recycling have been in court just last week regarding a two-month wood fire in Newport in 2015.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 15th February 2018
DIAG is pleased to note that there is cross party condemnation of the Barry Dock Incinerator and supports the Welsh Ministers now they are ‘minded to’ call for an Environmental Impact assessment (EIA).
DIAG welcomes the fact that the Environment Minister, Ms Blythyn, is intervening to call for a full EIA. In the interests of transparency the applicant is being allowed to respond to this decision but to date we should note that the applicant has not explained why they did not obtain one earlier when they must have known it was a legal obligation. DIAG is prepared to take part in the transparent exercise to help to ensure that the process is properly balanced.
DIAG will remain concerned that the decisions are left with others. NRW would be too embarrassed to take part in this process and the Vale of Glamorgan might feel it is too small to take on the might of an applicant that can call upon approximately £350billion pounds under management and bearing in mind the Vale of Glamorgan council relied on advice from the Welsh Government in 2015 when granting conditional planning permission. DIAG will also be closely scrutinising the decision making process to ensure that the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 is being fully considered.
DIAG is concerned that the Minister should be calling in the application at this stage, the Minister should be calling for the EIA and the Welsh Government needs to make the decision to refuse permission to this incinerator when the EIA is to hand or sooner if it agrees that the applicant is so much in default on its paperwork that a decision could not be made properly in their favour no matter what an EIA advises.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 15th February 2018
Last week, the Welsh Government Regulator Natural Resources Wales (NRW) controversially granted an environmental permit for the Barry Incinerator to operate after taking an unprecedented 14 months to make the decision amid allegations of inadequate public consultation and procedural mistakes.
In the face of all party condemnation at all local levels of government there has been an uncomfortable silence from Carwyn Jones and his Ministers with the notable exception of Jane Hutt who has tirelessly assisted the Docks Incinerator Action Group (DIAG) in its campaign against the Incinerator – sited less than 200m from peoples homes amid the exciting redevelopment of Barry Docks and possibly the only Schedule 1 Development in the UK without the benefit of an Environmental Impact Assessment.
This week – things changed. First, the Future Generations Commissioner, Sophie Howe announced a wide-ranging review into the decision-making processes of Natural Resources Wales. This news was followed by an announcement by Hannah Blythyn, Welsh Environment Minister, that the Ministers would intervene under powers derived from the EIA Regulations and demand that the developer provide an Environmental Impact Assessment that somehow was omitted during the initial planning stage in 2015.
DIAG welcomes the fact that the Ministers are doing so and is pleased to have been invited to discuss things with the Environment Minister’s Office.
Some of the items that might be the agenda:
• Why the Developer did not originally obtain an EIA when they must have known it was a legal obligation.
• The quality of the prospective EIA and the competence of the experts required to prepare it.
DIAG will be calling on the Minister to ensure that the late provision of an Environmental Impact Assessment does not seek to compensate the failures of the regulator NRW.
The analysis carried out under the minister’s authority appears sound and it is unlikely that the Developer Biomass UK no2 Ltd. (wholly owned by Aviva Investments) will be able to avoid completing the EIA which will assess the significant effects of the project in a very different way to the Environmental Permitting process undertaken by NRW.
A DIAG spokesman said “The failure by the Developer to obtain what they must have known was essential to safeguard and protect the environment and human health, is yet another indication that Biomass UK no 2 Ltd do not have the well-being of residents in mind. The Company appears to be driven by a desire for profit and maybe the promise of government subsidy as the rush to build was undertaken at their own risk and they appear to be on a very tight deadline to complete the project”.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 15th February 2018
The Aviva owned company have also come under fire from Health and Safety Executive and Vale of Glamorgan Enforcement Officers over questions of site management, development without compliance with conditions and noise and light nuisance to residents during the construction phase. Biomass UK no2 Ltd. have until 7th March to respond to the Welsh Minister’s Notice.
NOTE to EDITORS
– Planning permission refused in 2008
– Overturned on appeal
– Vale Council paid 70,000 + in costs
– Planning allowed to lapse
– New permission sought and outline planning given in July 2015 – subject to over 30 conditions
– A legal error by the Planning Inspector meant that no statutory Environmental Impact Assessment was required.
– Construction work started immediately without permit at developer’s own risk (43m chimney stack erected under cover of darkness in March 2017).
– Environmental Permit application to NRW made in Nov 2016
– NRW final decision made on 7th February 2018
The Docks Incinerator Action Group
– Is a non party-political voluntary group of Barry residents
– Has fought against the Incinerator for 10 years
– Has +5500 members in Facebook group
– 40,000 views of protest videos
– Acquired +10,000 names on a petition
– Has organised protests, workshops, and resident meetings
– Doesn’t think the incinerator should be anyone’s backyard!
What is an EIA?
The EIA Directive requires that Projects that are likely to have significant effects on the environment be made subject to an assessment prior to Development Consent being given.
Development Consent means the decision by the Competent Authority or authorities (both NRW and Local Planning Authority) that entitles the Developer to proceed with the Project. Before Development Consent can be granted, an EIA is required if a Project is likely to impact significantly upon the
Projects listed in Annex I to the EIA Directive are automatically subjected to
an EIA because their environmental effects are presumed to be significant.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – February 15th 2018
The Docks Incinerator Action Group welcome the news that the Future Generations Commissioner is willing to robustly hold public bodies to account (including the Welsh Ministers)
Sophie Howe’s role as guardian of the ability of future generations to meet their needs is unique in the world and we aim to be at the forefront of supporting her role, and demonstrating how communities can hold public bodies up to the light, scrutinise and monitor the extent that the Well-being Objectives are being met.
“Sustainable Development is the Central organising principle for Government” as expressed by the Welsh Government in One Planet – One Wales.
There is no evidence that NRW’s permitting officers have considered the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 (WFGA) and its underpinning principles of sustainable development and the precautionary approach.
The grant of the environmental permit to operate by Natural Resources Wales in the face of local opposition and cross party condemnation has created a controversy that will provide an excellent opportunity for Sophie Howe to demonstrate the power of this ground-breaking piece of legislation.
DIAG and many other local residents have carefully scrutinised the permit application and the decision making process. We’ve called on Carywn Jones and his Environment Minister to step in and use their legal powers to stop this incinerator development which is:
• ill-thought out – (situated right in the middle of the regeneration and redevelopment of Barry Docks and already having a negative effect on small businesses and people’s emotional well-being)
• poorly located (see the map and photo showing proximity of local schools, residences and businesses)
• of questionable viability without the benefit of so called “renewable energy” subsidy which is already being phased out.
Our pleas were ignored and the very existence of the innovative WFGA appears to be the only current means for people (and even their elected representatives) to be listened to in the face of Welsh Government paralysis and disjointed, inadequate decision making by Natural Resources Wales.
NRW have been allowed to continue making this decision despite serious shortcomings identified in the process and brought to their attention by DIAG in the last 12 months.
The numerous examples include:
• NRW are legally required to consult the public and failed to consider the high public interest and systematically ignored their own guidance on the decision making process.
• The information during the consultation was not accessible or transparent and the legal Public Register was not made available in the manner required in a public consultation.
• Certain ‘pivotal’ information was never disclosed in the public consultation, meaning that the residents of Barry have been deprived of their rights under the Industrial Emissions Directive.
• Unverified data was sent to other Public Bodies as part of the consultation – which demonstrates non- compliance with the 5 Ways of Working enshrined in the WFGA and raises serious questions about air quality modelling.
• Granting of the permit despite the Applicant being unable to meet NRW’s current fire-safety guidance – and with planning permission still not finalised for all of the fire safety obligations – there is a possibility that they may never be able to do so.
As Sophie Howe told us back in December, we need whole new ways of communicating and working to protect our future generations and as a non-political grassroots community group DIAG look forward to being part of this dialogue.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – February 7th 2018
The residents of Barry and the Vale are shocked to learn of NRW’s (Natural Resources Wales) decision to grant the Barry incinerator a permit to operate. More than 10,000 Barrians signed a petition against the incinerator. All of them have been ignored. The Barry Town Council, Vale of Glamorgan Council, local Assembly members Jane Hutt and Andrew RT Davies, as well as MP Alun Cairns have all expressed their opposition to this permit being granted. They have been powerless to stop it against the power of the Welsh Labour Government.
DIAG (The Docks Incinerator Action Group) call on the Welsh Government to intervene right now and suspend the permit until all planning conditions are met and suitable monitoring is in place.
DIAG dispute that NRW has adequately scrutinised the permit application, we dispute that the public have been adequately consulted. With substantial planning conditions still not finalised and with the health of tens of thousands of local children and residents is at stake, these issues MUST be resolved.
Members of the public have submitted responses to the consultation which have not been adequately considered. DIAG has done so on numerous occasions only to discover that important points have been ignored in the rush to grant this permit. Various important pieces of information has been withheld from public consultation. NRW have ignored their own rules throughout the permitting decision period.
And to add insult to injury, it seems that NRW care more about a few trees in the Roath area of Cardiff, than they do about the health of 55,000 Barry residents. NRW have gone to far greater lengths to consider and protect the wellbeing of the Roath trees than they did for the residents of Barry. This is totally unacceptable.
This is by no means the end of the line – the people of the Barry will not accept this discrimination any longer. Biomass UK no.2 Ltd picked the wrong town to put this incinerator!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – December 3rd 2017
Natural Resources Wales have now issued documents as part of a statutory public consultation – they are the Public Body which decides whether to issue a full permit for the Barry Incinerator to operate.
The documents were made available just before 5pm on Monday 27th November, yet it is stated on the NRW website that the public consultation begins on 27th November. The loss of a whole working day within such a limited consultation period running over the Christmas Holidays puts the public at a distinct disadvantage. The Docks Incinerator Action Group said “ Surely these documents should have been made available at 9am rather than the close of the working day, a Public Body should not deal with these things in such a casual manner”
As of Wednesday 29th November – 2 days into the public consultation, only basic information is available on the NRW website nothing at all it available in the NRW offices. No paper copies are available at Barry Public Library nor at the Barry Town Council offices despite a legal requirement to provide all of the information for people to look at.
A spokesman from DIAG said ”These are the most recent examples of NRW’s offhand way of dealing with the people of Barry during the last 12 months.
When taken with the fact that the parts of the Incinerator are being built without planning permission, it seems that we and the Vale Council Planning department are being treated with distain, both by the incinerator company and the people who are charged with regulating it. It doesn’t bode well for the future if NRW issues a Full permit to operate.
If these people are already playing fast and loose with our laws, do you trust them with your health?
We’re going to fight this all the way and we have cross party support at the top level.”
NOTE to Editors
A substantial number of DIAG members will be attending the Senedd on Wednesday 6th December at 1pm. They will meet personally with the Senior Public Health Officer of Wales, present a bundle of letters to Carwyn Jones, demanding that he refuse the permit. DIAG will be supported by Jane Hutt and Andrew RT Davies in an unprecedented display of cross party support for the Refusal of the Permit.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 22 NOVEMBER 2017
DIAG HOLD PUBLIC MEETING
At a well-attended Residents meeting in Barry Dock on Tuesday, November 21st, the Docks Incinerator Action Group laid out the next phase of the campaign against the Barry Incinerator. Members of the public and a number of elected Barry Town and Vale of Glamorgan councillors attended the meeting in support. Jane Hutt and Andrew RT Davies sent representatives also.
Councillors and public alike noted that further planning applications have been submitted on and near the Incinerator site on Woodham Road. All were incensed that building work has already begun this week, without planning permission and generally agreed that the company are showing complete disrespect for the Vale Council and the people of Barry.
Many people also claimed to be confused by NRW’s announcements in last week’s press that they were planning to issue a draft permit. A DIAG spokesperson said “it is unacceptable that the legally required public consultation process over the last 12 months has been so poorly conducted by NRW. The people of Barry have no idea of the procedure for deciding on Environmental permits for such a complex installations. DIAG will be assisting the people of Barry to call the NRW as the Relevant Authority to account.”
During the meeting, many members of the public expressed fear and worry about the health effects of the Incinerator. It was firmly agreed that the full environmental impacts of the proposed Incinerator have not been properly considered.
The Docks Incinerator Action Group and the people of Barry Dock agreed to demand that the Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones, use his legal powers to direct Natural Resources Wales to REFUSE the permit and end this debacle once and for all. The ultimate power to stop this potential disaster for Barry lies with the Labour Administration.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 15TH NOVEMBER 2017
BARRY INCINERATOR CAMPAIGN GROUP SOUNDS ALARM ON NRW DRAFT DECISION
The Barry Docks Incinerator Action Group (DIAG) is deeply disappointed that NRW has not taken the opportunity to reject the Aviva application to operate a wood waste “gasification” incinerator in Barry given the issues the group has identified in the application.
NRW will issue a letter by December 1st confirming at this time they are minded to grant the permit to operate the incinerator on David Davies Road. This letter is not the grant of the permit. It will set out the reasons why NRW reached this interim conclusion and invite further representations before a final decision is made in the new year. The consultation will be a minimum of 4 weeks over the Christmas period. DIAG will continue to try to convince NRW that a permit should not be granted.
DIAG has been calling on Natural Resources Wales to reject the waste wood incinerator’s application for an operating permit on the grounds that its developers have still not addressed serious health and safety questions, particularly around air emissions modelling and fire safety.
DIAG joint vice-chair Dennis Clarke said: “We are mystified as to NRW’s reasoning and how they can justify this draft decision given the problems we have identified in this application. We encourage the residents of Barry to continue to fight this battle as the incinerator is still the wrong development in the wrong place. A plant of this nature should not be operating so close to schools and homes.
“We agree wholeheartedly with Jane Hutt AM that the consultation must be at least 8 weeks. NRW’s previous consultations on this matter coincided with Christmas last year, then Easter and a local election period, and the holiday month of August. NRW cannot reasonably expect the working people of Barry to make representations on this decision during the Christmas period.
“DIAG consists of volunteers from across Barry and the Vale of Glamorgan of different ages and from different walks of life. What unites us is our determination to protect our children, family and friends from an incinerator funded by a corporation which we fear is more interested in public subsidies than our health.
“We are grateful for cross-party support from Jane Hutt AM and Alun Cairns MP, plus several councillors and Barry Town Council.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
- DIAG submitted a 100-plus page response to the NRW’s latest round of consultation. We are awaiting the NRW decision to see if they have taken our submission into account.
- DIAG has collected 10,000 signatures on a petition against the incinerator in a town with a population of approx. 55,000 people.
- Barry has a younger than average population compared with the rest of Wales and it is forecast that the school population will expand, presumably due to extensive housebuilding which is attracting young families.
- There are 12 schools within a 2km radius of the incinerator. Also within 1km is one of the most deprived wards in the UK.
- DIAG has also written to every Welsh Assembly member urging them to review issues of national importance raised by the Barry Incinerator permitting process and poor public consultation. The group has called for an inquiry into the procedural failings that led to this incinerator being given planning permission, and an inquiry into the health impacts of biomass, which appears to be on the increase across Wales as a source of power generation. We are urging all Assembly members and ministers to review whether the regulation around so-called renewable biomass is adequate for public protection.