Plans approved for new £200m gasification plant despite environmental concerns
Liam Randall, local democracy reporter
Plans to create a new £200m facility to turn non-recyclable waste into energy have been approved despite concerns over the impact it could have on the environment.
Councillors met this week to discuss an application to build an advanced gasification plant on Deeside Industrial Park.
The proposals will see up to 80,000 tonnes of what is known as refuse derived fuel being treated at the former Gaz De France power station site each year.
The aim is to produce 9.9 megawatts of electricity, most of which will be used to power the wider waste facility off Weighbridge Road, with some also fuelling the nearby Toyota factory.
However, fears were raised by some community leaders that the scheme put forward by Logik WTE Ltd and Eqtec Plc would cause pollution.
Speaking at a planning committee meeting held on Wednesday (October 27, 2021), Sealand councillor Christine Jones said: “(The land) is there for the benefit of developing another business and it will provide jobs, but I do have concerns about the cumulative effects.
“We’re having an awful lot of these waste from energy plants being put near our communities and this is just another one that’s there.
“My concern is the emissions and how they’re going to be monitored.
“We’ve got another very large stack which is 65 metres and if you look across the skyline from the Blue Bridge all you can see is chimney stacks.”
Ahead of the meeting, Connah’s Quay South councillor Ian Smith claimed the area where the plant will be located was “already quite heavily polluted”.
Flintshire Council’s chief planning officer recommended permission should be granted as he said it would not produce a significant amount of emissions.
His views were echoed by Howard Jones, a planning agent, acting on behalf of Logik WTE Ltd.
He said it would also result in the creation of 35 full time jobs once the facility becomes operational.
He said: “The planning application is supported by a series of assessments including transport, ecology, noise and air quality, which has taken into account the cumulative impact of other developments in the area.
“The assessments all concluded that the proposed development will not have significant impacts on designated habits within the vicinity or on the safety or amenity of residents.
“The proposed advanced gasification plant will enable a vacant brownfield site to be used for economic and employment benefit.
“It represents a significant investment into the local area by the applicants and will result in a substantial number of jobs during both construction and operation.”
The application was also backed by Cllr Chris Bithell, the council’s cabinet member for planning.
He said: “I certainly would support the application before us today.
“It is an industrial zone and has been for a number of years as it was part of the site of the old iron and steelworks. More recently, it was part of the Gaz De France development.
“The implications of this report are that there’ll be very little in terms of emissions, and certainly well below anything that might cause concerns.”
He added permission was being recommended subject to a time limit being imposed which would require the facility to stop operating by 2050.
It follows a Welsh Government strategy being published with a goal of ensuring no waste is sent to landfill or incinerators by that date.
The plans were approved by twelve votes to one at the end of the debate, with three councillors choosing to abstain.