Reassurances have been given that strict monitoring will be put in place to assess pollution levels from an £800 million incinerator on Deeside.
Commissioning at the Parc Adfer site on Deeside Industrial Park is set to begin next month, with a target date of October being set for it to become fully operational.
Once it is up and running, the waste-to-energy plant will be able to process up to 200,000 tonnes of non-recyclable rubbish a year taken from five local authority areas across north Wales.
However, concerns have been raised in the community about the impact it will have on people’s health.
Flintshire Council, which is overseeing the project, has now outlined how it will keep a close eye on particle emissions from the facility.
Speaking at a cabinet meeting held in Mold today, deputy council leader Carolyn Thomas said Wheelabrator Technologies, which will run the incinerator, will be asked to carry out more tests than normally required.
She said: “The new facility will provide a modern, safe and cost-effective process for treating non-recyclable waste in accordance with national policy and diverting it from landfill.
“Recent changes to the monitoring regime mean that from January 2020 operators of energy from waste facilities will be required to report specifically on emissions of Particulate Matter 2.5 as well as other particulate matter.
“The North Wales Residual Waste Joint Committee discussed the issue of reporting on PM2.5 at a recent meeting and recommended that the partnership instruct Wheelabrator Technologies to carry out these tests more frequently than the permit requires.
“That’s to give some assurances to the surrounding communities.”
During the construction phase, around 400 people have been employed to make sure the plant is finished. It has been estimated that it will generate enough renewable energy to power more than 30,000 homes.
A total of 34 new jobs are also set to be created ranging from plant management to operational, technical and administrative roles.
The council’s chief executive said reporting technology would allow instant updates to be given on emission levels.
Colin Everett added the authority had also been working with all parties involved to make sure lorries don’t disturb residents by travelling on minor roads.
He said: “From my experience of Wheelabrator’s community engagement, there’s been a very good attempt to build relationships and to feed back when the facility is going to operate and how it will be run.
“We have given reassurance that routing for lorries will be set via principle A roads.
“We’ve had questions like ‘What happens if the A55 is temporarily shut?’
“Obviously, there always emergency circumstances, but normally the routing will not be through rat runs which will affect residents.”
Senior councillors voted to note the progress made on the Parc Adfer scheme.
By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).