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Developers drop controversial biomass power plant plans

16 Sep 2021 4 minute read
The steelworks on Rover Way, Cardiff. Photo Alex Seabrook

Alex Seabrook, local democracy reporter

Developers appear to have dropped plans to build a biomass power plant in Splott, revealing plans to build warehouses instead.

Parc Calon Gwyrdd has applied for planning permission to build industrial accommodation on land off Rover Way.

The same site had previously been granted permission for plans to build a controversial wood-burning power plant, first in 2018 then renewed in January this year.

Air pollution

But the power plant plans caused concerns from environmental campaigners, residents and local politicians about the potential increase of carbon dioxide emissions and air pollution.

In planning documents, developers said: “The current proposal is, in part, the same scheme as the previously approved but with two significant changes — the removal of the biomass power plant and an increase in [storage and distribution] space.

“The removal of the biomass power plant … will have the effect of significantly reducing the scale and environmental and visual impact of the development. It will also reduce in significance any noise and air quality issues.”

Permission is still extant for the biomass power plant, so it could still be built. Planning agents representing Parc Calon Gwyrdd were asked why the biomass power plant was dropped from the latest plans, and if this means developers have shelved the biomass plans.

The site is next to the Celsa steelworks and Traveller camp, and is currently used as a motocross track. It was previously used as a tip for construction rubble and old car parts.

Due to its history as a dumping ground, the land is heavily contaminated with harmful chemicals.

As part of the latest plans, Parc Calon Gwyrdd will remediate the land to make it safe and prevent any chemicals leaking into the adjacent Severn Estuary.

The proposed warehouses, covering 50,000 square metres, would be fitted with renewable energy generators such as solar panels, air source heat pumps and wind turbines.

A nearby biomass power plant, in Barry, has been recently threatened with closure.

While the Barry Biomass plant has already been built, it is not yet fully operational. Developers built the power plant with “significant discrepancies” to its approved plans, and earlier this month Vale of Glamorgan council issued an enforcement notice to shut down and demolish the plant.


Councillor Huw Thomas, leader of the council and ward member for Splott, welcomed the change of plans and said the development would bring jobs to the area.

He said: “I would like to offer my sincere thanks to Parc Calon Gwyrdd for listening to myself and the residents of Tremorfa and deciding to reassess their plans for the site on Rover Way.

“After much consideration they have recently submitted a new application for the site which maintains the green credentials but removes the contentious biomass proposal. They will utilise a number of alternative green energy options which could include solar, wind power as well as air source heat to fuel the requirements of the development.

“This development will bring much needed jobs to this area of Cardiff as well as enhancing the council’s own green agenda.”

Harinder Dhaliwal, of Parc Calon Gwyrdd, said: “Parc Calon Gwyrdd has held discussions with the leader of Cardiff council, the cabinet member for investment and development, and senior officers regarding [our] development proposals on the Rover Way site, and in particular the lack of local support for the biomass proposal within the current consent.

“As a result of this dialogue, Parc Calon Gwyrdd has decided to submit a new application which removes the biomass element of the previous proposal. It will maintain the low-to-zero carbon B8 development, with the opportunity of utilising solar, wind power and air source heat pumps as green energy sources.

“It is expected that the final development of up to 50,000 square metres will generate up to 750 direct jobs as well as another 500 jobs in supporting industries locally. Parc Calon Gwyrdd wishes to work with the council and the local community as a long-term investor and partner in Cardiff.”

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