Residents held a torchlit protest march recently to continue their campaign against a controversial waste plant due to be built.
Former Islwyn MP Don Touhig and current Islwyn MP Chris Evans addressed around 100 residents who had marched from Wattsville and Cwmfelinfach to the Nine Mile Point Industrial Estate on February 23.
The Lower Sirhowy Valley Residents Group are calling for a reversal of the decision and have written to Welsh Government Minister for the Environment Hannah Blythyn AM.
Natural Resources Wales (NRW) originally refused a permit for the plant’s operators Hazrem Environmental Ltd but it was later granted following an inquiry last year.
Emissions from the burning of natural gas used in an on-site drier would include nitrogen dioxide and campaigners fear the pollution from the industrial estate will sit in the valley because of a weather phenomenon called temperature inversion.
NRW withdrew its concerns about the pollution following new technical information from Hazrem.
The Future Generations Commissioner for Wales is now involved in the issue and has sought clarity on environmental permitting decisions.
Sophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, has written to Natural Resources Wales to ask them to demonstrate how the Well-being of Future Generations Act is being applied during the environmental permitting process.
Ms Howe said: “Over the last few months I have been contacted by a number of people who have expressed concern about a range of developments across Wales, in particular the Barry Biomass Scheme and Hazrem waste treatment facility in Cwmfelinfach.
“Unlike other Commissioners, the powers set out in the Well-being of Future Generations Act do not give me a specific case-work function and I do not have the powers or resources to take action in every issue which is raised with me.
“I have however pledged to listen to concerns the public raise and to monitor these to detect any wider systemic issues in terms of how public bodies are applying the Well-being Future Generations Act.
“The approach Natural Resources takes in their environmental permitting decisions has emerged as a common thread in the concerns raised to me by the public and local representatives.”