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Planning permission for the proposed development was today rejected unanimously by Anglesey County Councillors.
The reasons given for refusal were as follows:
As part of the planning process, the applicant has been unable to demonstrate that the development accords with local and national planning policy as it is considered that the proposed development will adversely effect:
- Local air quality
- European designated ecological sites
- The local road network
- The local economy
- The authority’s sustainability objectives
- The visual and landscape integrity of the area
- Noise implications
Refusal with the following reasons:
No details have been submitted regarding the proposed accesses to and from site and therefore the development proposed would be unsatisfactory having regard to the current sub-standard means of access. The proposal is therefore considered to be contrary to policy 1 of the Ynys Môn Local Plan; policies GP1, GP2, TR1, TR2, TR3 of the Stopped Ynys Môn Unitary Development Plan. There remains conflicting details and insufficient information with regard to data supplied by the applicant to satisfy the Local Planning Authority that there would be no adverse impacts to the local road network and to the prejudice of safety and the free flow of traffic. The proposal is therefore considered to be contrary to policy 1 of the Ynys Môn Local Plan and policies GP1, GP2, TR1, TR2, TR3 of the Stopped Ynys Môn Unitary Development Plan.
Based upon current information, there remain insufficient and conflicting details with regard to data supplied by the applicant to satisfy the Local Planning Authority that there would be no adverse impacts to local air quality. The proposal is therefore considered to be contrary to policies 1, 6, 43, 45 of the Ynys Môn Local Plan and policies PO8b, GP1, GP2, EP18 of the Stopped Ynys Môn Unitary Development Plan.
Based upon current information, there remains insufficient information with regard to data supplied by the applicant to satisfy the Local Planning Authority that there would be no adverse impacts relating to noise pollution emanating from the development and its possible effects on human health. The proposal is therefore considered to be contrary to policies 1, 6, 43, 45 of the Ynys Môn Local Plan and policies PO8b, GP1, GP2, EP18 of the Stopped Ynys Môn Unitary Development Plan.
Based upon current information, there remains insufficient information with regard to the data supplied by the applicant to satisfy the Local Planning Authority that there would be no likely significant effects upon the Corsydd Môn SAC. The proposal is therefore considered to be contrary to policies 1, 33, 45 of the Ynys Môn Local Plan and policies PO8, GP2, EN4, EN5, EN6 of the Stopped Ynys Môn Unitary Development Plan.
In the opinion of the Local Planning Authority, the level of visual impact as a result of the development would likely to be a dominant feature in the skyline. The height, mass and scale of the proposal would be difficult to satisfactory mitigate in this particular location in terms of a landscaping scheme and would fail to provide improvements to the wider landscape. The proposal is therefore considered to be contrary to policies 5, 31, 40, 41, 42 of the Ynys Môn Local Plan and policies GP2, EP18, EN1, EN13, and EN15, EP8 of the Stopped Ynys Môn Unitary Development Plan.
Economic Impact and Sustainability
In the opinion of the Local Planning Authority the effects of air quality, noise, effects on ecology and the impact upon the road network have not been adequately addressed within the Environmental Statement. Coupled with the negative public opinion surrounding the development it is considered that the development will adversely impact upon the local economy and does not satisfy the criteria of sustainable development. The proposal is therefore considered to be contrary to policies 1, 2, 33, 45 of the Ynys Môn Local Plan and policies GP1, GP2, EP7, EP8, EP18, EN5, EN6, WP1a, WP3, WP4 of the Stopped Ynys Môn Unitary Development Plan.
Based upon current information, the applicant has failed to confirm that the waste tallow and composted wood used to fuel the liquid and solid CHP plants can be sourced from within Anglesey or even North Wales. Its sourcing would therefore generate significant road miles and consequent CO2 emissions. Therefore it is the opinion of the Local Planning Authority that the proposal is not in accordance with policy 29 of the Ynys Môn Local Plan or in the ethos of dealing with waste as close to the source as is possible as promoted through the proximity principle noted within TAN21- Waste and Planning Policy Wales.
A planning application has been submitted in Llangefni to build one of the largest biomass plants, not just in Wales but in the entire United Kingdom.
We feel that Anglesey County Council should reject this application on the following grounds:
1. Location of proposed plant contrary to ‘Proximity Principle’
The proposed plant will be composed of two biomass burning facilities: a solid plant to burn wood; and a liquid plant to burn tallow (animal fats) and recycled vegetable oil.
With relation to the solid plant, the applicant states that they will burn up to 180,000 tonnes of “locally sourced” recycled and forest wood each year. Nowhere in the application are these local sources named. As there are no local sustainable sources of such huge amounts of wood on either Ynys Môn or North Wales, it is clear that the wood will need to be brought in from much farther afield (indeed, the planning officer has been informed by the Applicant that wood could be sourced as far afield as Scotland and Canada). As such this is clearly contrary to the ‘proximity principle’ — a key Welsh Government objective — which specifies that waste should be treated or disposed of as near to the source of origin as possible.
Furthermore, with relation to the liquid plant, the application states that the inputs of tallow and recycled vegetable oil will be sourced within a “100 mile radiance of the development plant”. It later mentions specifically Merseyside and North Yorkshire as sources, which again seems again to run contrary to the proximity principle.
Accordingly, as none of the input source materials are to come from Ynys Môn or North West Wales, it is not clear why Llangefni has been chosen as the site for this development.
2. Overstatement of employment opportunities
The Applicant states in their planning application that the plant will create over 250 temporary and 150 permanent jobs — however it is far from clear how many of these will actually be created on Ynys Môn itself.
The Applicant’s own Transportation Assessment mentions that only 25-30 operational staff will be required to man and run the plant.
Furthermore, as the raw materials are to be transported onto the Island, the various forestry, haulage, and other related jobs are also likely to be created off Ynys Môn.
Finally it should also be noted that any jobs that are created on the Island will be highly precarious inasmuch that they are dependent on the maintenance of the current generous feed-‐in tariffs being offered by the UK Government to incentivise the development of renewable energy. The viability of this proposed plant and any associated jobs will be affected by any future adjustments to these tariffs.
3. Effect on employment in Bryn Cefni Industrial Estate
The relatively few and potentially precarious employment opportunities provided by the proposed development need to be balanced against the effect it may have on current and future employment at the Bryn Cefni industrial estate.
The Peboc site is on the Southernmost part of this industrial estate, meaning that the prevailing South Westerly wind will blow whatever odours, particles, and noises produced at the plant over the rest of the Industrial Estate. This may lead to current businesses relocating, existing customers taking their business elsewhere to avoid the smells, or even dissuade new businesses from setting up in Bryn Cefni.
Indeed this was the experience in Wakefield when Rocpower built a similar Biofuel power station next to an industrial estate in 2009:
“Rocpower opened their first tall-‐oil plant in Wakefield in late 2009 … and attracted complaints about smoke from its neighbours almost as soon as the first engine was switched on. Flue gas treatment equipment was subsequently added. Unfortunately, the particulate filters rapidly blocked up with particulates, resulting in the generators shutting down. I understand that the treatment equipment has now been disconnected. Rocpower are now only able to avoid action under the Clean Air Act by switching the entire plant off when the wind is blowing in the direction of the complainants.”
Furthermore, with the exception of the Vion plant, a large number of units on the main Industrial Estate Road leading into Llangefni are retail businesses. Accordingly such a large biomass incinerator can be said to be out of character with the surrounding businesses and may consequently impede the establishment of any further retail units on the Bryn Cefni Estate.
4. Strain on transportation
The proposed plant will place a very large strain on the roads in and out of Llangefni, as it requires an estimated 78 daily deliveries of wood; 5 daily deliveries of tallow and vegetable oil, and 88 trips related to the shipping of pellets. The majority of these journeys will be undertaken by HGVs increasing the amount of local pollution. It is also expected that waste ash will also need to be removed from the plant, although this is not discussed in the Transportation Assessment.
Furthermore, we strongly press Anglesey County Council to carefully consider the location of all proposed energy developments and ensure that if there is any possible health risks then they should not be located upwind of residential areas, as in the case of proposed Peboc biomass plant and the Mona Anaerobic Biodigester.
For all of the above reasons we strongly feel that Anglesey County Council should refuse this application. It will destroy more jobs than it creates, will need to ship in materials from Canada, and will pollute all of Llangefni upwind of it.
By their own admission the proposed plant is not “commercially viable” without subsidies: