Islwyn’s Assembly Member and Member of Parliament have said the concerns of the community have been “totally ignored” over a decision to give the go ahead to a controversial waste plant.
Despite initially turning down a permit application from Hazrem Environmental Ltd for a facility on the Nine Mile Point Industrial Estate near Cwmfelinfach, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) decided not to contest an appeal, citing “extra technical information” provided by the developer.
Following an emergency meeting with Hannah Blythyn, Welsh Government Minister for Environment, Rhianon Passmore AM and Chris Evans MP released the following statement: “This data has not been independently verified and, given that it has changed so dramatically from the original submission, it should not be the basis for a decision that could substantially impact the health and wellbeing of residents and future generations in an area.”
The planned site would process up to 100,000 tonnes of waste annually, and emissions would include Nitrogen Dioxide, a gas heavily linked to respiratory problems.
The statement continued: “It seems clear that the community voice, which spoke loudly against this plant, has been totally ignored in a callous dismissal of their very real concerns.
“The Minister has agreed to call in Natural Resources Wales to ask them why they did not defend, at appeal, their original decision to reject the environmental permit. She has also agreed to look into residents’ concerns regarding possible negative effects on their house prices.”
A Welsh Government spokesman acknowledged said: “In light of the local concern about this site, the Minister will be meeting NRW to discuss the circumstances leading up to the issue of the environmental permit and how Natural Resources Wales will ensure that the health of local communities is protected.”
John Wheadon, Permitting Service Manager from NRW, said: “The Planning Inspectorate found that our evidence was both robust and reliable and convincingly demonstrated that the facility can operate without significant harm to the health of people in the area.
“We also understand that we are likely to receive an invitation to a meeting with the Minster in the New Year. We would welcome this opportunity to explain our approach and discuss in detail the strict conditions we have placed within the permit and how we will effectively monitor the site.”