Councillors advised no Welsh need for waste incinerator targeting extra clients in England
Elgan Hearn, local democracy reporter
There will be no benefit to Powys or Wales in having a waste burning incinerator built at Buttington Quarry near Welshpool, councillors have heard.
At a planning committee meeting on Thursday, May 20, Powys Council members were given the opportunity to discuss and add their concerns to the Local Impact Report.
This will be submitted to the planning inspectorate as part of the consultation on Broad Energy’s plans to build a 12.8-megawatt energy recovery facility at Buttington.
The document will help Welsh Government ministers decide the planning application which is deemed as a Development of National Significance.
At the meeting, Robin Williams, of the North Wales Minerals and Waste Planning Service, explained that the report goes through the plans and gives the pros and cons of each aspect of the development, scoring them as positive, neutral, or negative.
The incinerator is supposed to be able to deal with 167,000 tonnes of domestic waste a year.
The report shows that Broad Energy believe they will be able to service clients within two hours travelling time, from across North Wales.
They have also listed several English local authorities along the Welsh border and into the Midlands, from Cheshire to Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Worcestershire are seen as potential clients.
They believe that a potential 640,000 to 690,000 tonnes of residual waste would be available in this catchment.
Cllr Karen Laurie- Parry, said: “This report has not demonstrated a local need, is that a fundamental factor?”
Powys planning professional lead, Peter Morris, said: “The issue of need is one the inspector dealing with the application is going to have to grapple with.
“The applicant clearly consider that they have demonstrated that there is a need, or they would not be pursuing it.
“We have not identified a Welsh and Powys need for it, and we have made that point in the report.”
Cllr Roger Williams believed incinerators would reduce the need of dumping rubbish in landfill sites and lower gas emissions, and wondered whether “need” should be a commercial rather than planning matter?
Mr Williams said: “Need is one of the main planning considerations, sustainable development does not allow for the over-provision of treatment capacity.
“As part of the proximity principle waste should be dealt with as closely as possible to where it is generated.”
Cllr E Michael Jones asked where the waste goes currently.
Mr Williams explained that this part of Powys is in the northern waste region of Wales where there is around 70 per cent recycling rates, this leaves the remaining 30 per cent of residual waste to deal with.
Mr Williams said that since 2019, most residual waste in the region had been taken to a new facility to be incinerated.
During the last decade, the North Wales local authorities joined forces to bring a 200,000-tonne incinerator operated by Wheelabrator to Parc Adfer in Flintshire.
This facility still has 50 to 60 per cent spare capacity to deal with commercial and industrial waste.
Mr Williams said: “In Powys there’s about 20,000 tonnes of residual waste generated annually, a proportion goes to landfill and other energy recovery facilities that are outside the region.
“A procurement process is going on at the moment to deal with that, it’s up to tender where that 20,000 tonnes will be going.”
Other issues councillors wanted included in the report are fire risk, the weather conditions which could affect air quality, and that increased traffic on would increase the danger of accidents on the A458, the main road artery from England into Mid-Wales.
They voted to approve the report.
The consultation process comes to an end on Sunday, May 24.
Broad Energy believe the 12.8-megawatt incinerator could create 35 jobs.
The construction and operation of an energy recovery facility would involve “re-profiling” a void in the quarry, earth works, changes to existing residential access and a new vehicle access from the A458 Welshpool to Shrewsbury trunk road.
Developers Broad Energy say the facility will “significantly reduce” the amount of waste sent to landfill while also generating low-carbon energy.
Broad Energy believe the facility “will be a significant step in the right direction” towards helping Wales to become a zero-waste nation by 2050.