Friday, November 21, 2008

Biomass Plant: Right Idea, Wrong Place

One of the discussions in Barry in recent weeks has been the proposed Biomass Plant to be located on Woodham Road on the Waterfront.

There are clear advantages to the plant, which will be a 9MW wood-fuelled renewable energy plant, according to the plans laid before the local councils.

Most obviously these include an increase in renewable energy supply to around 22,000 houses on the national grid (effectively every house in Barry), fuelled by reclaimed wood from local recycling operations and that would otherwise go to landfill.

I'm fully in favour of the principle of a biomass plant in Barry, but it's the location that needs to be considered.

Residents facing the Docks already have air and noise pollution from the Metal Recycling Plant near them and the whole northern Waterfront area is due to be the site of a significant number of houses as part of the Barry Waterfront Phase 2 development.

It makes no sense then, to site a 24-hour industrial plant nearby, when there is ample space only a mile or two away on the Atlantic Trading Estate or even on the industrialised southside of the Docks.

I also think that any permission for building a plant of this size should include an Environmental and Traffic assessment from the Vale Council to ensure that quality of life is maintained for local residents.

I look forward to further debate between the council and the developers and hope that Barry can play its part in a more environmentally friendly Wales.

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