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Pyrolysis plan goes up in smoke

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Government’s highways assessment ‘unbelievable’: Cllr Kevin Madge

Government’s highways assessment ‘unbelievable’: Cllr Kevin Madge

THE CONTENT of an addendum report on a controversial application for a pyrolysis plant at New Lodge Farm, Pontardulais Road, Cwmgwili was described as ‘alarming’ by members of the County Council’s Planning Committee.

The proposal, which was rejected, was for a pyrolysis plant with a generating capacity of 8-12 MWe, and Anaerobic Digestion (AD) facility with a generating capacity of 2-3 MWe and an 8,000 panel Photovoltaic Solar Array.

Presenting the report summary to members of the Committee, Planning Officer Hugh Towns said that the proposed development should be rejected on the precautionary principle, as the applicant had demonstrated no clear justification for the development; there was no need for such a facility in south west Wales; the transport of material from outside the County – possibly even from outside Wales – was unjustified and contrary to existing planning policy; and that the development was not sustainable.

However, members’ concerns focused on the key issues of damage to nearby ancient woodlands, a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) at Felinfach Meadows, and nuisance and pollution.

Cllr Alun Davies. from the Saron Ward, expressed the serious concerns felt locally about the impact of the development. In particular, he noted the impact of emissions from the plant over a wide area that would affect the ecology of both the Amman and Gwendraeth Valleys. He noted that properties were within throwing distance of the proposed plant and there was a genuine and deeply felt concern about an increase in air pollution. He pointed out that a similar development in Cardiff used different technology in connection with reducing air pollution.

NO TO IMPORTING WASTE

Cllr Calum Higgins, of Tycroes, expressed wholehearted agreement with the points raised by Cllr Davies and added that the Council should not be considering importing waste into Carmarthenshire from elsewhere and noted that the Council’s existing recycling facilities were performing well.

Cllr Leader Emlyn Dole, representing his Llannon Ward, told the meeting that he was seriously concerned about the impact on Cwmgwili and the wider area.

He said: “When we consider planning applications for projects such as this, odour and smell are always flagged up as major problems. It is a fact of life that the anaerobic digestion of organic materials will produce unpleasant odours.”

Cllr Dole went on to draw members’ attention to the experiences of communities in the south west of England where similar plants, regardless of assurances that they would not, produced waves of foul stenches.

The Council Leader continued by setting out his concerns that the development would significantly impact upon two key areas of the Council’s regeneration plans for Carmarthenshire: “First impressions are important. The roads accessing this will be off Pont Abraham and Cross Hands. If you’re a tourist coming off the M4 you may decide, having caught a sniff of the plant, to simply put your foot down and head for Pembrokeshire’s purer air.

“I am also concerned about the proximity of the development to the Cross Hands Food Park. That is a development which has added value to the Garden of Wales. The last thing we need is to deter possible incoming investors from coming here.”

ROADS NOT UP TO IT

Cllr Kim Thomas of Llannon alighted upon the issue of parking and the poor safety record of the roads in the immediate vicinity: “The two most dangerous roundabouts in Wales are in my Ward, at Pont Abram and Cross Hands. There was an accident on that road this morning and any increase in traffic in unacceptable. The existing roads are not sufficient for extra traffic.

“I also have concerns about what will happen to waste that cannot be recycled. The waste will be sorted on site and yet there is no sign of where that will take place or where the waste that cannot be recycled will be kept.”

Peter Cooper echoed those concerns: “The highways issue is hugely important,” Cllr Cooper told the Committee. The carriageway round there is a massive problem. On top of that emissions have not been addressed and neither has the effect on watercourses. There are just too many unanswered questions.”

Former Council Leader Kevin Madge weighed into the debate and declared that he found the Welsh Government’s highways assessment ‘unbelievable’.

“The junctions near the site are dangerous and I am not at all happy about the highways assessment. There has been a lot of investment into Cross Hands and I am concerned that this development would send the wrong signal to any other businesses that want to come into the area.

“As for noise and odour: there is no doubt that the health of people living for miles around this plant will be affected. The Prime Minister wouldn’t have this near his home in Oxford, would he? As far as I am concerned, the cat is out of the bag; we will be importing waste from all over. Why should we be burning other people’s waste here? We should protect Felinfach Meadows.”

AIR QUALITY CONCERNS

Pontamman representative Colin Evans used his professional expertise to draw the committee’s attention to an important issue which had been raised in the addendum circulated before the meeting.

Cllr Evans told members: “I used to have responsibility for air quality. When I received the addendum and saw the report from public protection, especially with regard to atmospheric emissions – heavy metal contamination extremely alarmed.

Quoting the addendum report, Cllr Evans noted that ‘The applicant considered this indicated maximum chromium levels of double the background level.’

Cllr Evans said: “This is a significant concern. There is no justification for the claims made about the local environment being able to safely absorb heavy metal pollution and no risk assessment relating to dioxin. The applicants state that there are no assessment criteria, but that is not good enough.”

Cllr Evans concluded: “With no qualms, I support the officers’ recommendation for refusal.” Responding to members’ concerns, Hugh Towns told members that this development would be the first of its kind in Wales. There had been ten applications in England and only one in Scotland for a similar facility. Four applications in England had been granted, three rejected, while one was withdrawn shortly before an appeal hearing relating to its refusal. However, Mr Towns told members that no permit applications had been made in relation to the plants’ capacity to burn waste, and that all the applications for those permits – in both Scotland and England – had been pulled around the same time. No other plants of this type were, therefore, either built or operational in the UK.

VITRIFIED SLAG

Regarding the issue of waste transport, Hugh Towns confirmed that there would be landfill waste left over after the process and that liquid waste, vitrified slag, and material for recycling would be removed from the site by road.

As regards mitigating the visual impact of the site and other environmental effects associated with the proposal, the planning officer pointed out that. “Mitigation is reliant on other people carrying out mitigation works for the applicant on land not owned by the application: there is no capacity for implementation and no obligation on other landowners to do so.”

The Committee rejected the proposal unanimously.

No representative from the developer turned up to the meeting to present its case or answer members’ questions and concerns, or to explain the omissions from the application.

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Llandeilo gas works to begin say Wales & West Utilities

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WALES & West Utilities will shortly begin work to upgrade gas pipes in Llandeilo.

Wales & West Utilities has liaised with Carmarthenshire County Council to plan the work and it has been agreed that work will commence after the town has celebrated the Festival of Senses.

The £123,000 investment scheme, which is essential to keep the gas flowing safely to heat and power local homes and businesses, will begin in New Road on 21 November. This section of work will be complete before Christmas and Wales & West Utilities will return to the town next year to undertake further work in the Crescent Road area. Barring any engineering difficulties, work in the town will be complete by the end of February next year.

Wales & West Utilities Adam Smith is managing this gas pipe upgrade work. He said: “Working with the Council, we have planned this work to accommodate the needs of the town.

“While most of the gas network is underground and out of sight, it plays a central role in the daily lives of people across Llandeilo. Whether it’s heating your home, making the family dinner or having a hot bath, we understand how important it is for your gas supply to be safe and reliable and there when you need it.

“We know that working in areas like this is not ideal, but it really is essential to make sure we keep the gas flowing to homes and businesses in the area, and to make sure the gas network is fit for the future. We’ll have a team of gas engineers on site throughout the project to make sure our work is completed as safely and as quickly as possible while keeping disruption to a minimum.

“This work is essential to keep the gas flowing to local homes and businesses today, and to make sure the gas network is ready to transport hydrogen and biomethane, so we can all play our part in a green future.”

Our Customer Service Team is ready to take your call if you have any questions about our work. You can contact them on freephone 0800 912 2999.

Alternatively, you can contact us on Twitter @WWUtilities or Facebook.com/WWUtilities.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, brings energy to 7.5m people across the south west of England and Wales. If you smell gas, or suspect the presence of carbon monoxide, call us on 0800 111 999 straight away, and our engineers will be there to help any time of day or night. Before visiting, we’ll ask you to let us know if you or anyone in your household, is experiencing Coronavirus symptoms or self-isolating. We’ll still come and help you: but our teams will take some additional precautions to keep us all safe.

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Police appeal following theft of items from Home Bargains Crosshands

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OFFICERS from Dyfed Powys Police have confirmed that they are investigating the theft of items, including a Christmas Nutcracker Ornament valued at £129.99, from the Home Bargains store in Crosshands, Carmarthenshire.

The theft occurred at about 12:40pm on Tuesday, 27th September 2022.

Officers have carried out all possible lines of enquiry, and are now appealing for help from the public.

They would like to identify the people in the CCTV image, who may have information that could help the investigation.

Anyone who knows who the people are, or if you believe you are pictured, contact Dyfed-Powys Police.

This can also be done either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.police.uk or phoning 101.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Please quote reference DPP/2006/27/09/2022/02/C

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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Witness appeal after car is stolen and burnt out

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is investigating the theft of a car from a property in Lando Road, Burry Port, which was later found burnt out in Pembrey Country Park.

Officers are appealing for witnesses to the theft of the blue Ssangyong Rexton, which took place sometime between 5pm on Friday, 11th November, and 9am on Saturday, 12th November, and would like to speak to anyone who may have information or CCTV or dashcam footage.

Anyone with information that could help officers with their investigation is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Quote reference: DP-20221112-109

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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