By Rubina Obaid
Barry biomass power plant got operational this year after getting planning permission in 2010. However, campaigner came up with the point of view that biomass incinerator in Barry has shared misleading information about the impact of the biomass plant on the environment.
Biomass energy companies have increased exponentially all around the world after biomass fuel has been declared as a clean source of energy. In the process of biomass, a tree or plant is burned for converting it to biofuel, and the carbon which was stored in it in the process of photosynthesis gets reabsorbed into the atmosphere. While keeping the process of photosynthesis continued the carbon dioxide which is released is considered to be environment friendly. The need to steer the dependency away from fossil-based fuel, Barry biomass power plant entered the field and got operational this year after getting planning permission in 2010. However, campaigner came up with the point of view that biomass incinerator in Barry has shared misleading information about the impact of the biomass plant on the environment. It has been proclaimed that Barry biomass plant will generate electricity for 2300 homes. Whereas, there are a lot of planning hurdles faced by the biomass plant to bring its operations in full swing.
In addition to this, Vale of Glamorgan council wants its developers to extend their help in assessing the impact it will leave on the environment. For the sake of analyzing the impact precisely, the principal planner at council, Ian Robinson wrote to Barry Biomass on May 27. In the letter, he asked for the plan of the site and the potential effect it will leave on the environment. Mr. Robinson wanted to have this information before the planners would give a final go-ahead indication by discharging numerous planning conditions. Based on this it will be decided if the plant needs to go through an EIA screening, which is a formal environmental impact assessment.
In order to respond and address the environmental concerns on behalf of Barry Biomass, Steve Butler, from SOI Environment sent the site plant to the council, which was originally given planning permission in 2015. However, campaigners Friends of the Earth claimed that the power plant is “trying to con the council” and declared the provided information “misleading”. As according to the environmental activists say that the plant has been built with significant differences to the original plan in 2015. Max Wallis, of Friend of the Earth, said: “The main change is the company has taken over substantial land to the north of the 2015 site, and constructed underground settling tank there. They are trying to con the council by not showing the underground tanks, and failing to show the roadway through the northern site extension. We have asked the council to insist on a proper site plan; and also that they suspend further consideration of the 13 conditions until the EIA screening is resolved.”
A Barry town councilor, David Clarke also added “This plan does not accurately depict what is on-site; the plan may not even accurately depict the present boundaries of the site. What is needed is not some documents of historical relevance, but a plan of the actual developed site. The applicant, possibly without planning permission, has developed a significant area of land to the northwest of the site and immediately adjacent to the site. This will already have an impact on the design of the site as the level of surface water needing to be collected has greatly increased. On the contrary, Barry Biomass has denied anything has changed since 2015, and further added that no aspect of the operation, size and scale of the plant have changed since the original planning consent was granted. Therefore, Vale councilors on the planning committee will consider their verdict for giving the final go-ahead in a public meeting.