Council ‘barred’ from approving plans for power station

Uskmouth power station. Photo by Reading Tom licensed under CC BY 2.0

Emily Gill, local democracy reporter

Newport council has been “barred” from approving an application for further works at Uskmouth Power Station.

In a planning meeting last week, councillors heard that Welsh ministers had been asked to call in the application, which meant Newport council’s planning committee was unable to make a decision.

The Welsh Government has 21 days to decide whether it will hear the case or dismiss the call-in, giving the final decision on the application back to Newport City Council

Planning officer Joanne Davidson said in the meeting: “The council received a holding directive from Welsh Government in relation to Uskmouth Power Station.

“The local authority is barred from favourably determining the application at the current time.”

Blueprint

The Uskmouth Power Station conversion project proposes to generate electricity from waste-derived fuel pellets, creating a “world first” blueprint for other coal-fired power stations to follow.

The fuel pellets will be produced from non-recyclable waste which would otherwise end up being sent to landfill or which would be incinerated.

The proposals up for consideration include erecting silos, conveyors, a de-dusting plant and an extension to a rail unloading shed.

The planning report, which recommended approval of the plans, says “the development will facilitate the return of the plant to service and extend its operating life by approximately 20 years”.

The development would also create 15 additional jobs during the operational period.

Planning approval for the conversion is not part of the application as there is no change of use of the existing power station.

However, there are some concerns about the proposals.

The council’s landscape officer said in the planning report that “without appropriate mitigating measures, the adverse effect of the proposal on Western part of the Newport wetlands is likely to remain major”.

Wetlands

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, which works in partnership with Natural Resources Wales on the wetlands, has raised an objection to the application.

The RSPB has raised concerns over the impact on nature within and next to the application site and the potential for poor air quality.

The council also received an objection from a member of public who had concerns over lorries going in and out of the site, the potential impact on health and the visual impact over the wetlands.

The council will find out within 21 days whether the Welsh Government has decided to approve the call-in request or whether it will be handed back to the city council for a final decision.

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