Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has today announced that it has granted Biomass UK No 2 Ltd a permit to operate its controversial gasification facility in Barry Docks.
A High Court challenge by residents, who asserted that dust from the incinerator was likely to harm people and wildlife was quashed in April 2016, and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) said that as the company has demonstrated that it can meet all the legal, environmental, technological and health requirements of UK, Welsh and European law, they had ‘no defensible grounds’ to refuse the permit.
The decision to grant the facility planning permission was made by the Vale of Glamorgan Council back in 2015, despite strong opposition from local residents and local MPs. The NRW had no legal powers to challenge the earlier planning decision or the suitability of the location and could only deal with the issue of whether or not to grant an environmental permit, which the company would need to operate.
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.”
Barry councillor Vincent Bailey described today’s decision as “hugely disappointing”.