Planning chiefs give go-ahead for an £800m incinerator on Deeside industrial estate.
In a surprising u-turn this morning Flintshire County Council planning committee voted in favour of the application to build a huge waste incinerator on Deeside industrial estate.
Plans were passed by a one-vote margin, weeks after councillors threw them out fairly convincingly.
Flintshire council’s head of planning Andrew Farrow had said the result from the previous meeting had been a ‘significant departure’ from the remit of the planning committee and therefore decided to bring the application back before the committee.
The number of votes were evenly split at 6 a piece, so it fell to Chair Councillor David Wisinger to cast the deciding vote, he opted in favour of the incinerator despite representing Queensferry, a ward which according to the Welsh Government’s index of multiple deprivation, is the most physically deprived area in the whole of Wales.
Passionate speeches from Councillors opposed to the waste plant could not persuade committee members to vote against the plan.
Councillor David Roney said the application was flawed in many ways, stating the plant was too big, and a commitment to 25 years of waste burning on Deeside would actually be counterproductive in assisting Wales to hit its recycling targets.
Mr Roney, Councillor for Mostyn said he also found it “very odd, every time there is an objection from a Councillor they are beaten down by the panel” referring the council’s head of planning Andrew Farrow and Peter Evans, Flintshire County Council’s Democracy and Governance Manager amongst others.
Mr Farrow dismissed the claim and said he was being “consistent”
Philip Short representing the applicant said “Wales needs to move urgently away from landfill” and the Parc Adfer plan was robust, taking months of work by experts adding “We has had more letters of support than of those against” which was quite a popular line during the course of the meeting.
Michael Redmond from the Burton Residents Association was given five minutes to address the chamber he said:
“There are new cheaper and efficient ways of dealing with waste, the Welsh Government has a love affair with incinerators but as we all know love is blind”
Sealand Councillor Christine Jones spoke about the risks from pollution saying she was concerned about emissions and links with cancer, dioxins contaminating the food chain as well has potential harm to babies fed on breast milk in areas of high pollution.
Addressing the chamber, Councillor Andy Dunbobbin said people in Connah’s Quay didn’t feel empowered to challenge large organisations when it came to planning, and disagreed with the view that not many people within towns in Deeside were particularly against the incinerator.
Cllr Dunbobbin is also concerned with the potential increase in traffic on already busy Deeside roads, the original plan was to transport much of the waste via rail, he was told that any increase in traffic wouldn’t be significant despite the fact 200,000 tonnes of waste would travelling on Deeside’s roads.
Mold Cllr Chris Bithell said objections from fellow members “did not stack up” and there was no reason to object, Deeside industrial park is the ideal location for the waste facility he said.
In the end the vote went in the way of Wheelabrator and its waste facility, despite only gaining one more favourable vote than the previous month.
The number of Councillors voting against to the plan decreased from ten to six, clearly those absent from today’s meeting have had a potentially major impact on the applications outcome, a point noted by a few Councillors.
Away from the chamber Deputy Leader of the council Bernie Attridge said:
“I am very disappointed that Members have changed their minds from the last meeting, I will be taking advise on a possible judicial review!”
He later added on Twitter “I’m just about to send an email to the Minister asking for it to be called in! They have got form for calling in at Flintshire.”
Managing Director of UK Operations for Wheelabrator Technologies Inc Gary Aguinaga said
“We’re delighted to have been awarded planning permission for the Parc Adfer Energy Recovery Facility. This decision will now start to unlock the supply chain, economic and environmental benefits for local communities and businesses in Deeside and beyond. In addition, we will continue our discussions with local businesses to identify who could use the heat or steam generated by the facility.”
“For the counties of Anglesey, Gwynedd, Conwy, Denbighshire and Flintshire, this facility will be a long-term environmentally and economically sustainable solution for treating non-recyclable waste that would have otherwise been sent to landfill.”
Construction work will start as soon as all the required planning and permitting permissions are in place.
The facility will create around 300 jobs during the construction phase and some 35 new full time jobs when operational.
In addition, the 16MW facility will be able to generate power equivalent to the needs of 30,000 homes. Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com