DOCKS INCINERATOR ACTION GROUP:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 10th June 2019
Call for scam announcement to be abandoned and the law followed!
DIAG has written to the RT Hon Mark Drakeford AM, First Minister of Wales and patiently awaits a response, like we await the decision on the legally required Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Barry Incinerator site.
It is of interest that Marcus Goldworthy comments to the GEM newspaper, suggests that the Ministers’ announcement on the 15th May was “premature”.
DIAG believes that the statement was far from premature. In fact it was quite the opposite. Not only that but the Ministers’ announcement is more concerningly a scam.
Mr Goldworthy will know from basic math that 200 tonnes of waste wood is undoubtedly more than 100 tonne of waste wood, making this a Schedule One development and therefore that an EIA is legally required. For that reason the concern over breaches of regulations identified by the Welsh Govt. is in fact very real.
More importantly having taken onboard concerns from locals, the process that is being proposed by Ministers to remedy the situation is considered as a transparent scam on residents.
Consider for a moment that…
Welsh Government Ministers were (again) made aware of the breaches of European Regulations in late 2017.
However, no action was taken by the Ministers until several months later.
When, in Feb 2018, Hannah Blythyn AM, the Minister in charge at NRW, chose to wait for Natural Resources Wales to first grant the permit to operate on the 7th February before stating she was “Minded To” instruct an EIA just one week later, on the 14th February 2018.
- Why would Hannah Blythyn AM sit on important information, waiting several months before publishing her Valentine’s Day “Minded To” letter only to announce that errors had been made after the permit had been granted? This was all at a time when a supposed public consultation was conducted.
- Would NRW have granted the permit if they knew that officials within the Welsh Govt. had identified a breach of European Regulations and that an EIA instruction was being considered?
DIAG believes that there existed reasons, albeit undisclosed reasons, as to why this was the case and that Barrians and legal requirements are not being treated fairly.
In this respect, DIAG proposed the following alternate statement. One which has been well received by Alun Cairns MP, Neil Moore, Leader of the Vale, as well as VoGc and BTC Councillors who attended our recent Extraordinary Meeting.
Residents would be better protected had the Welsh Govt. provided such a statement like that proposed by DIAG. There are strong legal arguments that NRW’s permit was and is unlawful, that it is in breach of the Waste and Industrial Emissions Directive. Since NRW’s permit for this plant breaches European Directive obligations on the Welsh and UK Government.
DIAG believes that this catalogue of errors can now only be remedied by a court, where all the information can be independently and fairly reviewed and the fate of Barrians decided. Any other process would be unjust and not follow the law.
Would the people of Barry be looking at a completely different scenario if Hannah Blythyn AM had published her Valentines Day “Minded To” letter prior to NRWs granting of the permit?
Are the People of Barry perhaps wondering what the WG was afraid of?
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 16th May 2019
DIAG has been pressing for a decision from the Welsh Government on the need for an EIA at the incinerator on Barry Docks but is very disappointed with the announcement now made by Julie James AM and Hannah Blythyn AM. We are seriously concerned that much like the “minded to” letter written on behalf of H Blythyn in Feb 2018,this statement is deliberately unclear to allow the public to misunderstand what it is that Jane Hutt AM and the Welsh government are actually proposing.
The WG’s statement says that the legal requirement for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) will NOT be enforced.
The Welsh Government has tried to make it sound good for the public, but they are letting Biomass progress with their work in the meantime. Why are there no enforcement measures?
Jane Hutt’s statement comes just one week after DIAG and the people of Barry announced that they will be demonstrating on King Sq, on 1st June following DIAGs call for the WG to revoke the license. The timing of this misleading announcement seems to have been decided to encourage people not to show their disgust at the lack of action by the WG.
Revoking the Permit and the Planning Permission is the only way to return to the residents of Barry the proper level of protection from a facility that has already breached its environmental permit four times in the dash for cash to claim Ofgem (public money) subsidies.
NRW says that the proposed wood burning at the incinerator is more dangerous to health than if it was burning diesel.
It sounds like the Welsh Government has not been following the debate on the dangers of diesel – either that or Barry residents are not any sort of priority.
Let’s not forget that as well as the multiple environmental breaches the incinerator has been constructed precariously close to existing homes, schools and even closer to soon to be built homes earmarked for social housing.
To adequately address the seriousness of the juncture that we are currently at DIAG are holding a private extraordinary meeting next Wednesday evening. We have formally invited Alun Cairns MP, Jane Hutt AM and all of the Vale Councillors to attend.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 10th May 2019
CALL TO REVOKE PERMIT GRANTED TO THE INCINERATOR ON BARRY DOCK.
NRW and/or the Welsh Government should urgently revoke this permit.
The permit was granted in Feb 2018. There were activities at the incinerator site during March 2018 that amounted to four breaches of the permit.
NRW failed to monitor the incinerator during this period. Eventually NRW noted offences were committed and then formally recorded by them. Their Warning letter and Compliance Assessment Report were not issued until 6 months later on 31st October 2018.
The Vale Of Glamorgan Council was not informed until much later, in Jan 2019, some ten months after the offending had occurred and almost four months after NRWs official warning letter.
The VoG Council and the Welsh Government know there is a legal requirement for an Environmental Impact Assessment for the plant but both are too scared to make the only decision that, in law, is required.
The Permit granted by NRW is also unlawful as it fails to satisfy the requirements of the Waste and Industrial Emissions Directive.
NRW managed the public perception of the whole process by pretending to hold a consultation prior to issuing the Permit but during the so-called consultation period NRW continued in discussions with the Operator apparently to ensure that when the ‘consultation’ was concluded the operator could make immediate progress to demand millions of pounds of public subsidies.
The obligation for an Environmental Impact Assessment is an international treaty obligation. The lack of the EIA is a breach of this obligation and means that the Minister must revoke the license or order NRW to do so to avoid being sued.
Barry has a higher incidence of breathing difficulties and yet when considering the impact of the increased pollution it appears that no regard was had to the Equality Act and in particular how the additional pollution was likely to affect these patients.
As the operator cannot be trusted to run the plant in accordance with the permit and general good practice, as NRW cannot be trusted to monitor the plant, as there are still many defects in the process of granting the permit, DIAG calls upon the Welsh Government to demand the Environmental Impact Assessment, to take steps to revoke the planning permission and the Permit and to investigate precisely how and why this expensive list of mistakes has come about and has not been corrected to date.
Construction and commissioning
The construction of the Installation commenced in late 2016 and caused huge uproar in the town when the 43m chimney stack was erected under cover of darkness in March 2017. Despite huge public opposition and evidenced by a 10,000 name petition and a 5000 person strong facebook group, The Welsh Government Environment Agency (NRW) granted a permit for the plant to operate in February 2018. Almost immediately the operator began commissioning procedures which resulted in substantial noise pollution and a lot of black smoke falling silently from the chimney to hang low in the air and spread across homes and schools all over Barry.
The Planning Permission
The planning permission remains at ‘outline’ stage and the developer is building at their own risk. Subsequent planning permission has been sought for a large water tank for firefighting purposes and the site has been extended to include a car park. This additional permission has not been granted more than 18 months after it was submitted. Final planning permission cannot be granted until an Environmental Impact Assessment has been carried out and its findings presented to the public for scrutiny. Further changes to the planning permission may be needed as a result of the EIA.
Permission to operate the plant was granted by NRW in February 2018 amid huge public interest and hundreds of objections. There are serious questions as to the validity of the public consultation. Recent revelations have the operator breached conditions of the permit several times in the first 3 months.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 27th March 2019
The Barry Dock Waste Wood Incinerator has recently re-commenced commissioning after a period of inaction for unexplained reasons. 12 months ago, when the plant began commissioning, Barry residents feared that the Operator was playing fast and loose with their health. These fears have now proved to be a reality.
Documents recently disclosed to us reveal that the Operator Biomass UK no2.Ltd. (BUK2) breached their permit between the 11th and 18th March 2018 (last year)
Over the weekend of 10th and 11th March 2018 Barry residents complained about noise and black smoke from the BUK2 incinerator.
- Failure to minimise the risk of pollution by using sufficient competent persons and resources during operation.
- Failure to take appropriate measures to limit emissions of dark smoke.
The ‘burner technician/engineer was not available on site’ and there was a ‘reluctance to shut down’. NRW say the dark smoke continued until 17th March. Barry residents were still posting pictures and videos of the ongoing pollution incident until the end of March 2018.
- Failure to use appropriate measures to prevent or minimise noise during operation.
Noise levels may have been up to 95db ‘ which might prove to be less acceptable even during the daytime’ but NRW’s key finding is that BUK2 did not consider or check offsite noise levels.
- Failure to notify NRW of incidents which could have an adverse environmental effect.
This is classed as a minor breach of the permit condition.
DIAG spokesperson said “The people of Barry are horrified to learn that they were exposed to this air and noise pollution and that it was allowed to continue as long as it did. The Operator claims that black smoke from the burning of heavy diesel oil occurred from 10th March 2018 until the 17th but residents were posting videos and pictures of it from before then and continuing on until the end of the month. The worrying thing is that NRW have to rely on the Operator to report themselves. And they didn’t! It was only the complaints of the residents gave rise to this investigation by NRW.
As regards the noise levels, NRW csay they annot substantiate anything the operator claims because they ‘did not consider or check offsite noise levels’. NRW say they may have been 95decibels which is about the equivalent sound of a Boeing737 a mile from landing. This noise is liable to cause ear damage.
There is no way of knowing the amount of highly dangerous diesel particulates and nitrogen dioxide that were pumped into the air that we breath for nearly a month, or what damage this has already caused to both healthy and vulnerable people. It makes a mockery of national air targets. It is unacceptable that people in their homes should be subjected to this level of noise and pollution without the authorities doing something about it quickly.
Don’t forget that the environmental impact of this plant has not been properly assessed and development consent has still not been granted for the operation of this incinerator. It should be shelved until the law is complied with.
The very fact that this highly dangerous commissioning work was being carried out without a competent manager on site is frankly terrifying. I should imagine that more experienced operators would not countenance such a risk, how can this be allowed to happen?
We have seen a document dated January 2018 in which the Operator set out its ‘Communication Strategy’ – very little of this has been implemented – it ain’t working Steve! DIAG have offered to pay for a public meeting so that the Operator can reassure the residents of Barry that they truly have our best interests at heart. Surely now is a very good time to step forward into the light?
DIAG marks its 10th year fighting this application and we’re still gaining new members!
NRW warning letter
Compliance Assessment Report CAR_NRW0034005
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 23rd Sept 2018
The Minister has again indicated that her decision on whether an EIA should be ordered at the incinerator site is due to be given soon. Unfortunately the Welsh government looks to be determined to answer a question that has not been put to them but happens to be a question they may answer in the way they would prefer.
DIAG raised the issue that as the incinerator required an EIA from the very beginning the Vale had no power to grant planning permission. The incinerator is built in breach of European Directives and the Welsh government is obliged to take steps to prevent that breach. That means that the Minister should be revoking the planning permission and the operator will need to begin afresh with an Environmental Impact Assessment and then seeking planning permission.
There is a suspicion that the Minister was advised very quickly on our question that this was the proper way to progress but the Welsh government was more frightened of the operator than of Europe investigating them.
The Welsh government said in the Senedd the other day when answering a question put by Jane Hutt that they were considering the question as if we were asking whether an EIA was needed on the present planning application rather than on the original application. People will be used to asking politicians one question but finding they got the answer to something totally different!
If the Minister does decide that an EIA is required in respect of the current application then provided it is a full EIA and not limited to the impact of a water tank and car parking then we may get to the same result. At present it seems unlikely that the Minister will follow that route as it is unclear why the Minister avoids our simple question – the alternative one that might require more thought.
In the meantime the Minister claimed to have released to the public her Department’s correspondence with the operator up to July this year. This was not released. The Minister also claimed to have directed her officers to release further correspondence to Jane Hutt. Some 3 months later we do not believe that the officers have bothered to comply with that direction.
As usual, residents of Barry are to be kept in the dark while those at the incinerator enjoy full disclosure of our and other documentation as well have having full access to government officials to press their case.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 19th April 2018
Beautiful Barry, supported by the Docks Incinerator Action Group, has purchased twenty Clean Air Kits from Friend Of The Earth, which it would like to donate to local schools, in order to help them monitor the true quality of surrounding air where our children spend their days being educated.
The Clean Air Kits effectively monitor Nitrogen Dioxide levels and will provide an insight into the quality of air that our Future Generations are breathing.
Friends of the Earth state that “Air pollution costs lives. It is one of the UK’s biggest killers, causing 40,000 early deaths in the UK every year. That’s more than obesity or alcohol. Dirty air leads to worsening asthma symptoms, heart disease and even lung cancer. Air pollution has even been associated with changes in the brain linked to dementia and can lead to children growing up with smaller lungs”.
Sally Holland, Children’s Commissioner for Wales has already highlighted articles in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) that directly relate to this issue, especially Article 3 which requires children’s best interests to be the primary consideration in decision making, Article 6 on the right to life and Article 24 in relation to health and development.
These facts, coupled with the valid local concerns over, the lack of enforcement of planning conditions and the absence of an appropriate Environmental Impact Assessment at the incinerator site should make these kits a welcome additional measure for schools to effectively protect pupils through proactive monitoring.
The Clean Air Kits are simple to use and can easily be incorporated into a curriculum activity. Several schools in Barry have already accepted the donation of the Clean Air kits.
If you would like your child’s school to be included in this scheme please contact Beautiful Barry via email@example.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 30rd March 2018
The Docks Incinerator Action Group (DIAG) has fought long and hard against the incinerator. But Natural Resources Wales (NRW) ignored our technical, medical, scientific and legal evidence, and still granted the incinerator its permit to operate.
Now the Vale of Glamorgan Council (VoG) is the authority that can stop the incinerator. We are not asking the VoG to take our word over the word of the incinerator owners. All we are asking is that the VoG Council uphold the laws of the land.
The incinerator owners have repeatedly breached the regulations in the construction of their plant. They are working late at night, keeping local residents awake with the noise. The VoG Council has received hundreds of complaints…but they have chosen not to act and stop this.
The incinerator is currently burning fuel, which is another breach of planning conditions at this ‘construction phase’ of the project. Again, the VoG Council could enforce the law and stop this, but they are choosing not to. The VoG could also instruct NRW to block the commissioning phase of the project until the Planning Consents (including an EIA – Environmental Impact Assessment) are in place.
But so far, the VoG Council has chosen not to do any of this. Why are they delaying at this critical time for Barry’s future? The whole town is watching to see if the VoG Council will do the right thing in time. Soon, it will be too late and Barry will be stuck with this polluting monstrosity.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 23rd March 2018
Whilst we welcome the gesture of air monitors, we don’t foresee the £40k mobile air pollution sensors as a silver bullet for assessing the air pollution impact on residents, as the points impacted by the incinerator fumes vary quite quickly. It cannot measure the most damaging nanoparticles, nor to the standards apply to few-minute doses of high NO2 fumes, which can trigger respiratory attacks.
DIAG points out that the Vale Of Glamorgan Council should already be using its own simple dust and noise equipment, as quick and effective monitoring to highlight violations of the permit and planning conditions. Sticky-plate dust monitors would catch wood-dust from the waste wood store – inspection by microscope will identify particles, which Natural Resources Wales claim not to see by eye. Noise decibel monitors would also readily catch the night-time working and deliveries that are currently in breach of the planning consent.
Biofuelwatch also weighed in, highlighting the concerns relating to unfiltered diesel fumes and asked Natural Resources Wales the following question “can it possibly be meeting the daily average limit on particulates and organic carbon set out in the permit granted by @NatResWales“?
Vale Councillors have emphatically voted against this incinerator – they now need to tell the officers to drop their reluctance to enforce the conditions they set.
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.