Swansea’s EfW Planning Refusal “Major Error In Judgement”

Swansea council’s planning committee’s refusal to grant planning permission for an energy-from-waste (EfW) plant ‘major error in judgment”, says stakeholder engagement specialist.

The Biffa EfW plant, planned for a business park at Llansamlet, would process 21,000 tonnes of non-hazardous waste that would otherwise go to landfill in Merthyr Tydfil.

Planning officers had recommended approval, saying there was no significant impact on residents, however the plant received local opposition, with more than 2,500 letters sent to the council urging it to refuse permission amid air-quality concerns.

Lee Petts – “Given that the Welsh government has only recently declared a climate emergency, this is no time to be ruling-out the generation of energy from residual waste in favour of continuing to send it to landfill some thirty miles away,”

BBC News reported that Extinction Rebellion activists staged a protest against the EfW plans outside a Biffa premise yesterday(7 May) morning, and that the decision by the council to refuse the proposal was unanimous.

Managing director of 52M Consulting and stakeholder engagement specialistLee Petts, said the council’s decision to refuse planning permission was a “major error in judgement.”

“Given that the Welsh government has only recently declared a climate emergency, this is no time to be ruling-out the generation of energy from residual waste in favour of continuing to send it to landfill some thirty miles away,” he said.

“Not only will trucking waste to Merthyr Tidfil create avoidable transport pollution, landfill is responsible for methane emissions that can be hard to contain and capture, and instead are released into the atmosphere. The short-term global warming potential of methane is higher than that of the CO2 that would be released by the proposed incinerator. 

“There is a strong environmental case for burning waste that can’t be recycled and extracting its latent energy content, helping to displace fossil fuels in electricity generation – it’s why so many countries that we regard as ‘green exemplars’ make such widespread use of waste-to-energy incineration. 

“The decision by Swansea city councillors to refuse planning permission in this instance amounts to a failure of common sense.”

Swansea council has been contacted for comment. 

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  1. Democracy in action (or not?) A bunch of loud-mouth protesters and 2,500 (at the most) NIMBY locals stop a sensible project that could have harvested all the energy potential of stuff the public can’t be bothered to separate out.

  2. Reports produced to the planning committee of the council overwhelmingly proved that there is a surplus of incineration capacity within the U.K. so is was a wise decision to refuse planning.
    Following the success, the national group of Extinction Rebellion promised to lend their support should a company apply for planing permission to build an incinerator in any part of Swansea in the future.
    Following the meeting it was proved that many legal issues had not been brought to the planning committees attention, so we conclude that by accident more than intentional, Swansea planning committee came to the correct decision.

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