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Welsh plant blocked after emissions fears

The Welsh environmental regulator has turned down an environmental permit application for a refuse-derived fuel (RDF) treatment facility in Wales.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) decided that such activity at the proposed facility in Cwmfelinfach, near Caerphilly, could have a negative effect on local people’s health due to a possible increase in nitrogen dioxide emissions.

The facility would accept up to 100,000 tonnes of non-hazardous waste a year to be segregated for recycling and baled as RDF, which would be exported for incineration.

Emissions from burning of natural gas used in an on-site drier would include nitrogen dioxide.

NRW received a permit application in October 2015 from Hazrem Environmental to build the plant on the Nine Mile industrial estate.

Caerphilly County Borough Council’s planning committee gave its approval to the development in December that year and NRW ran a public consultation in 2016.

The regulator reportedly received 700 objection letters from local residents, who argued it would have a detrimental impact on the environment.

NRW subsequently decided to consult further with Public Health Wales (PHW) on the application before making a decision.

PHW has now outlined its health concerns and NRW has told the company its decision to refuse the application.

Jon Goldsworthy, operations manager for NRW, said: “One of our main roles is to protect communities from poor environmental quality that is detrimental to people’s health and the environment.

“We received evidence during the public consultation from PHW to advise us about the potential impact on local air quality.

“As a result we believe that the proposed facility has the potential to have a negative impact on the health of people living in the area. This is due to a predicted short-term increase in nitrogen dioxide concentrations during certain weather conditions, such as thermal inversions.

“We were not satisfied that the company’s detailed plans demonstrate that it can operate without harming people.”

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