Incinerator campaigners hit back at ‘low value’ description of Barry

Campaigners opposing the controversial incinerator in Barry have hit back at the suggestion by the multinational developer that the town is of ‘low value’. 

It comes as the latest consultation on the site came to an end yesterday, Wednesday, November 23 – the latest in a saga which has been rumbling on since 2008. 

Last autumn, the Vale of Glamorgan Council ruled the plant should be torn down having not been built in accordance with its planning consent. 

Aviva, the site owner, is currently appealing the Vale Council’s decision and a part of that process required the multinational to submit an environmental statement (ES) on the facility, which it finally did in July after several attempts to delay the submission date

Campaigners from the Docks Incinerator Action Group (DIAG) have been scrutinising the almost 2000 page document since then and had been given until Wednesday to submit their observations. 

It was in the ‘Landscape and Visual Assessment’ section of the Aviva document that DIAG noticed the description of Barry as being of ‘low value’.

Other parts of the document reveal the plant would be responsible for releasing a massive 4,000,000 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Barry And District News: The Barry biomass plant with the town of Barry behind it. Photo: Ade PitmanThe Barry biomass plant with the town of Barry behind it. Photo: Ade Pitman

“For some reason the apellant has decided to rely on an assessment it has made that our town is ‘low value’,” Dennis Clarke told the Barry & District News. Mr Clarke is the Vice Chair of DIAG. 

“They go further than that by saying that the people living in the town are ‘low value’. They call us ‘receptors’ but that’s just to disguise the fact that they’re talking about people. 

“The only reason why they call our town ‘low value’ is to indicate that it really doesn’t matter what they do to us because we’re already beyond redemption.

“How anybody could come to the conclusion that our town is ‘low value’ is beyond belief. 

“We’re all proud of our town and we know that the people living here are good people. 

“None of us want to see things happening to Barry to diminish it.”

Barry And District News: Members of the Docks Incinerator Action Group gather on Dock View Road overlooking the incinerator. Photo: Siriol GriffithsMembers of the Docks Incinerator Action Group gather on Dock View Road overlooking the incinerator. Photo: Siriol Griffiths

Aviva owns three such incineration plants across the UK, in Hull, Barry and Boston, and all three have been beset with various issues, but none more so than the Barry site. 

An appeal hearing will be held in public during the first half of next year.

Between now and then, an inspector belonging to Wales’ new planning inspectorate, Planning and Environment Decisions Wales (PEDW), will have to consider the ES document supplied by Aviva, as well as the responses from members of the public.

Barry And District News: Paul Robertson, Chair of the Docks Incinerator Action Group, stands on Dock View Road overlooking the Aviva incinerator. Photo: Siriol GriffithsPaul Robertson, Chair of the Docks Incinerator Action Group, stands on Dock View Road overlooking the Aviva incinerator. Photo: Siriol Griffiths

Chair of DIAG, Paul Robertson, accused Aviva – who recently appeared at COP27 in Egypt – of big business “greenwashing”: “If they cared for our town, our planet… they may have taken a little time to find more uses for ‘waste wood’.

“Any schoolchild will tell you that it is impossible to grow trees as fast as they’re burned.

“Antonio Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nations, made an impassioned speech at COP27 in Egypt just a few days ago declaring that ‘business as usual’ means countries are signing a joint suicide note.

“Maybe he should have aimed his comments at companies that accept greenwashing ideas just to make a quick buck, rather than plan for the future of all children… even those that live in a so-called ‘low value’ town like Barry.”

Barry And District News: Aviva chief executive Amanda Blanc said the fight against climate change had reached a critical moment. Photo: AvivaAviva chief executive Amanda Blanc said the fight against climate change had reached a critical moment. Photo: Aviva (Image: Aviva)

A spokesperson for the Welsh Government said: “Following the completion of the consultation on 23 November, the Inspector will consider the responses as well as the adequacy of the Environmental Statement.

“He will then decide whether further environmental information needs to be requested. 

“A date has not yet been set for the inquiry but it will be publicised when it is.”

A snapshot from Plume Plotter which uses weather and other scientific data to calculate the would-be plume from the Barry incinerator.

The Barry & District News also approached Aviva but a spokesperson said the issue wasn’t something the multinational was looking to comment upon. 

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