Would you believe this has been going on for nearly TEN YEARS??
This project was for a smaller incinerator (9MW) and although was recommended for approval, the VoG planning committee refused it based on increase traffic and concerns how it would effect the environment including the Waterfront regeneration.
Read the Wales Online article here.
After planning was refused, Sunrise Renewables appealed the decision, where a welsh assembly planning inspectorate overturned the decision and approved planning. This cost VoG approx £70,000 in legal costs. Read more here.
Now under the name Biomass UK No.2 Ltd (largely the same directors as Sunrise Renewables) a new plan is submitted to VoG with a larger 10MW Plant.
In a rather controversial turn of events, the VOG Planning Committee approved planning for the new larger plant. During the meeting [View it on youtube, at 22mins] a letter was presented from Welsh Assembly Governmentagreeing with the VOG designation as a Waste Plant [view letter] but declining to screen it for Environmental Impact Assessment. Not only was this letter submitted on the day of the meeting (usually not allowed) and addressed to Barry&Vale Friends of the Earth, but the officer Marcus Goldsworthy asserted that the Council had to take it into account.
Despite over 100 letters of objection and in fear of facing large legal bills in appeal, the council voted to approve the planning.
Read the Barry and District article here.
With construction well under way, Biomass applied for a permit to operate from Natural Resources Wales. NRW is a relatively new government body, formed in 2013 when the environment agency, forestry commission and countryside council in Wales all merged. They are the government body responsible for many things in the environment including issuing permits for such plants and regulating them once running. NRW opened a public consultation which was due to last until May 8th, where they anticipated to make a decision on this plant.
Following a public meeting at Castleland Community Centre, DIAG released a campaign video on facebook as many people in Barry were not aware that the incinerator was even being built. The video went viral and was shared by 2000 people, amounting to 58,000 views and sparked a huge public interest.
Unhappy with the lack of action from the VoG council, Barry Town Council unanimously agreed a budget of £10,000 to seek an independent expert report on the impacts of this plant. This sum was originally £5,000 but councillors were very supportive and understanding that more funds may be required.
DIAG Chairman Alexis Liosatos is interviewed on the BBC Wales flagship news program.
First Minister Carwyn Jones was holding a public event at Barry Memorial Hall and DIAG arranged a peaceful protest outside with nearly 200 people providing a welcoming committee, many of whom were children. Unfortunately the First Minister decided to sneak in the back door and not even acknowledge the people that had come out to see him.
During the event inside, the first minister did announce he would ask NRW for more time on the consultation.
With public interest always rising and now many more residents becoming aware of the threat from Biomass, a protest and march through the centre of Barry was arranged. With so many people attending the march blocked the road.
After demonstrating clear ‘high public interest’ and with support from Jane Hutt AM and Alun Cairnes MP, following a request by the First Minister, Natural Resources Wales agreed to extend the consultation.
Plume Plotter is a website which takes data from industrial plants and produces a real-time emissions map using current weather data. Even though the Biomass plant was not operational yet, Plume Plotter is able to use the figures from the NRW application to produce a map which is regularly updated.
BTC called an extraordinary meeting to discuss the report they commissioned and completed by Capita. Due to the high interest in this, the meeting was held in Barry Memorial Hall with approx 300 members of the public.
Following this meeting, BTC also agreed to commission another report from Capita to be based on the Fire Prevention Plan for the plant.
Jane Hutt AM had arranged a meeting between DIAG members and senior staff of NRW to raise the many concerns of the Biomass plant. The meeting was very successful and as a result NRW announced they would be issuing a Schedule 5 notice to Biomass. This is a legal document outlining the gaps in the application. This would be the third schedule 5 document issued to Biomass about this plant. The first schedule 5 was issued in January and was regarding a single issue. This schedule 5 was 12 pages long and covered over 70 separate points that needed addressing.
You can view the document on the BTC website here.
Despite a Biomass spokesperson stating in the local press that they are happy to engage with the community, after being invited to the next public meeting they failed to present any representation and were therefore replaced with a block of lard.
The Leader of the Vale Council, John Thomas stated in the Barry & District News that he would “prefer it was not in Barry” after being heckled for a yes or no answer at a full council meeting.
Read the full article here.
The total combined number of signatures of the petition (online and on paper) is approximately 7,000 with many of these coming from door-to-door enquiries and local community events such as the Scout Fete and Cadstock.
Biomass have responded to the schedule 5 issued by NRW in May. NRW have now announced that a 28 day consultation will take place to allow the public to absorb and respond to this. Due to the response being approx 1000 pages long and very technical, BTC and DIAG have officially asked for a more reasonable time for the public to respond.
With Jane Hutt as Chair, Diag once again met with officers of NRW to present to them the consultation response (over 100 pages) and to officially handover the petition with over 10,000 signatures.