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Merthyr residents protest outside IPC to oppose 750,000 tonne EfW

Residents from Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, and surrounding villages have delivered more than 6,000 registration forms opposing the construction of a large energy-from-waste (EfW) facility, during a demonstration outside the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) offices.

Around 150 residents arrived at the IPC offices in Bristol, which is to make a decision on proposals by Covanta Energy to construct a 750,000-tonne merchant EfW facility in Merthyr Tydfil. Campaigners collected more than 6,000 forms, which they delivered to the offices in three coaches.

Friends of the Earth (FoE) planning empowerment project worker Mike Birkin told MRW: “Despite our misgivings [over the nature of the planning consultation], Covanta opened a period of public registration. Under the system, anyone who wants to have input has to register during the six-week period. Residents are entitled to further written representation and to attend a preliminary meeting.”

According to estimates by FoE Cymru, the capacity of the proposed facility is greater than the entire commercial, industrial and municipal residual waste output of Wales, if the Welsh waste strategy Towards Zero Waste is successful in its waste reduction aims.

A statement from Covanta Energy said: At present, people are using the process set up by the IPC to make their views known – which is a process we support. The more that people can engage and learn about the facility, the better.

“We are aware that people have registered an interest with the IPC, and a final number has not yet been announced. The consultation process did inform our final submission to the IPC. We shared our proposal widely, took in feedback and comments, and amended the proposal to reflect those suggestions which improved our facility and its acceptability to local communities.

“Not building a facility for Wales at Brig y Cwm was not an option.

“Independent research has also found that a single, large facility, which receives the majority of its waste by rail, as Brig y Cwm will, is far more sustainable than multiple EfW sites.” 

Following the closure of the public registration phase, there will be a preliminary meeting held in late April or early May to discuss the next phase of the decision process.

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