Campaigners fighting plans to build a controversial waste plant have taken their fight to Cardiff Bay.
Islwyn Assembly Member Rhianon Passmore welcomed the Lower Sirhowy Valley Residents Group to the steps of the Senedd last week to accept their formal objection to Hazrem Environmental’s appeal for a licence to build a controversial waste plant at Nine Mile Point Industrial Estate near Cwmfelinfach.
The appeal is being heard by the Planning Inspectorate at Blackwood Rugby Club today, Wednesday, October 4.
Ms Passmore said: “The campaigners have come to the home of Welsh democracy to send a message loud and clear that they wish to protect the air quality of our valley.
“I was delighted to receive them here at the National Assembly for Wales. I stand with them 100% in their continued fight to deny a licence for an unwanted, an unnecessary and an unhealthy emitter of nitrogen dioxide into the atmosphere.”
In January this year Natural Resources Wales (NRW) turned down a permit application for the plant after raising health concerns.
The environmental agency said the planned facility had “the potential to have a negative impact on the health of people living in the area” and followed advice from Aneurin Bevan University Health Board to “exercise caution” when considering whether to grant the permit.
The plant’s operators, Hazrem Environmental Ltd, has previously said up to 100,000 tonnes of waste would be processed annually at the site, including the sorting and segregating of waste for recycling and the production of fuel.
Emissions from the burning of natural gas used in an on-site drier would include nitrogen dioxide.
Hazrem submitted an appeal over the decision to reject a permit, which NRW has said it will no longer contest.
The u-turn has come about after Hazrem submitted additional information to NRW.
Ms Passmore added: “I find the acceptance of new and substantially lower emissions data, compared to the original planning submission for the same processes on site, extremely worrying behaviour by a body entrusted with protecting the natural environment in Wales.
“These figures should have been robustly challenged to ensure they were genuine and have not been altered simply to ensure a successful appeal.
“I would ask the inquiry to investigate this speculative proposal indepth.”
Ms Passmore added: “I wish to pay tribute to the hard work and determination of Labour Councillors Philippa Marsden, John Ridgewll, former Councillor Jan Jones, pharmacist Allan Sharpe and all associated with the Local Sirhowy Valley Residents Group.”