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Campaigners ‘insist’ on public consultation over permit for £4.3 million Powys recycling facility

08 Jun 2022 3 minute read
Abermule Rubbish protest

Elgan Hearn, local democracy reporter

Campaigners “insist” that a public consultation over an environment permit application to run a £4.3 million recycling facility at Abermule should take place.

Back in March, when the original permit application was refused by environment body, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) Powys County Council (PCC) had said they would appeal the decision.

This week, the council announced a u-turn and said that they will submit a fresh Environment Permit application to run the North Powys Bulking Facility.

Revised application

A spokesman for Abermule Communities Together (ACT) campaign group: “ACT would not only welcome a public consultation on any new permit application for the Abermule recycling facility — we insist that we should have the opportunity to respond to the details contained in any revised application.

“The application was afforded HPI (High Public Interest) status previously, and we would expect the public consultation on any new application to also receive the same HPI status.

“Whilst we look forward to see if PCC has satisfactorily addressed NRW’s previous concerns, there still remain a number of unresolved issues which continue to be of grave concern to this community.”

“These include the continuing failure to provide any form of automatic fire suppression.

“We would also expect any new application to address the issues of residual (black bin bag) waste, the previous proposal to store nappies, incontinence pads,  in non-sealed unlidded skips, and the still-unaddressed issue of unacceptable odour levels being discharged directly onto the business units which are now nearing completion. “

David Lee, North Powys Environment Team Leader for NRW said: “Should we receive an application for the North Powys Bulking facility at Abermule which is duly-made, then its determination would include a public consultation.”

He added that NRW would then explain what sort of consultation would be held when they publish a “participation statement” once the application has been received.

Abermule Bulking Facility. Photo Elgan Hearn

Powys have said that to strengthen the  the fire prevention and mitigation plan for the facility, the council will apply for planning permission to install a water tank on the site.

Cabinet member for a Greener Powys, Cllr Jackie Charlton said: “We understand their concern at the possibility of taking residual waste to the site, but we would reiterate the previous position that there are no current plans to do so.

“The safe operation of the site is paramount, and the installation of the water tank should give some comfort to the community who have expressed concern about not having enough water on site in the event of an emergency.”

The site is supposed to receive recycling collected from households across Montgomeryshire, where it will be squashed together  or “bulked,” so that it can be more easily transported to processors to turn into new products.

The council have stressed that the facility is needed so that they can hit Welsh Government recycling targets.

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