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Legal challenge over Cardiff waste incinerator

An environmental organisation has launched a legal challenge against the Welsh Government’s plans to fund a £105m waste incinerator in Cardiff.

Friends of the Earth (FoE) Wales opposes the approval of £4.2m of annual funding for the Trident Park incinerator by Welsh Government’s Natural Resources Minister Alun Davies. Cardiff City Council are set to imminently sign a 25-year contract for the facility.

The construction of Viridor’s 350,000 tonne a year incinerator at Trident Park, Cardiff is part of the £1bn Prosiect Gwyrdd - a local authority partnership to treat residual waste from the councils of Caerphilly, Cardiff, Monmouthshire, Newport and the Vale of Glamorgan.

Waste management company Viridor was granted planning permission for the project in 2010 and appointed preferred bidder for the project in March.

FoE Wales claims the funding decision was based on a position adopted by the Welsh Government and Prosciect Gwyrdd unlawfully favouring energy from waste plants.

It also claims that the Welsh Government failed to consider the scope and diligence of the Prosiect Gwyrdd investigation into the health and environmental impacts of incinerators.

Nor do the proposals comply with Welsh Government funding criteria or waste policy, according to FoE Wales.

According to the Welsh government, Prosiect Gwyrdd is expected to save the partner authorities approximately £500m during the next 25 years in the form of diverting waste from landfill and reducing landfill tax expenses.

Viridor commented at the time of the funding announcement that materials presented for recycling should be diverted from landfill and EfW where possible but EfW remained a central component of the waste hierarchy.

“As Defra recognises, £6.8bn of UK EfW capacity is required over the next six years, of which Viridor will invest some £1.5bn,” said Richard Jenkins, regional director for Viridor.

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