Rhymney & Merthyr Tydfil ward Labour party affiliate objections to the IPC
The Infrastructure Planning Commission Temple Quay House Temple QuayBristol BS16PN 22 March 2011Dear Sir/ Madam,With the IPC due to consider proposals for an Energy to Waste Incinerator at Brig y Cwm in the coming months, wewrite to express our views, as locally elected representatives, but more importantly, as residents of Merthyr Tydfil &Rhymney who care deeply about the future of our communities.We believe that this response also reflects the views of the hundreds of constituents whove approached us to expresstheir concerns over the plans since they first emerged in 2008. We feel it is worth reiterating our main concerns aboutthe proposed development:Above all, we are deeply anxious over the size and scale of the proposed incinerator. As has been pointed outpreviously, at over 115m in height, the stack would be taller than the Meridian Tower in Swansea, which is currentlythe tallest building in Wales.While we note that in your most recent newsletter for local residents, dated February 2011, the application talks aboutthe revised design for the incinerator which is supposed to mirror "the rolling shape of the surrounding landscape" and"blend in well with its surroundings", it is obvious that the plant would totally and utterly dominate the landscape of thesurrounding area.We do not feel that adding a curved roof to the plant is going to make it blend in -it would be the largest structure formiles and would be dominant on the horizon in a landscape which we are increasingly seeking to promote for leisureand tourism activities. Neither do we believe that the addition of "green and yellow shades" to the exterior of the plantwill make any real aesthetic difference.Another key concern, which has been repeatedly raised but never adequately addressed, is the source of the waste tobe processed at this plant. 750,000 tonnes is a significant proportion of the non-recyclable waste currently produced inWales annually, and the Welsh Governments "Towards Zero Waste" strategy will reduce this figure still further in thecoming years.
In 2008-9 just over 1.7 million tonnes of municipal waste was produced in Wales, and data for the industrial andcommercial sectors shows that, combined, they produce about 3.6 million tonnes of waste annually. Of that, 37% ofmunicipal waste was recycled and rates for the commercial and industrial sectors are over 50% and rising.As the years go by there will be less non-recyclable waste locally to meet the needs of the plant, and it seems verylikely that waste would have to be bought in from further afield to meet the needs of the plant -certainly from Englandand perhaps even from abroad. This runs directly counter to the proximity principle that is at the heart of the WelshGovernments strategy -the idea that waste should be handled as near as possible to where it was produced. In theevent of insufficient recyclable waste being available the need for mixed fuel co-firing may become necessary but is asyet not described.We note that in Covantas Feb 2011 "Brig y Cwm newsletter" independent research is highlighted which argues that asingle large-scale facility would have less impact on climate change than several smaller waste treatment facilities.While it is not for us to question the validity or otherwise of that research, policy in this regard should be driven by theWelsh Governments own research and strategies, rather than research commissioned by those with vested interests.Again, such an approach is inconsistent with the proximity principle so central to the Welsh Governments "towardsZero Waste".We are not scientists, so we will leave the detailed arguments over the impact on the environment and local peopleshealth to others. But we are also seriously concerned at reports from America that Covanta has been fined forexceeding carcinogenic emission levels. Whether you look at lower life expectancy, poor public health orunemployment caused by illness and disability, in many ways, communities in Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney are stillrecovering from the legacy of heavy industry and its impact on the health and wellbeing of local residents. We wouldbe deeply concerned about anything which would threaten that recovery.As elected representatives with strong links to the trade union movement, we are incredibly worried about reports fromthe states on Covantas record of industrial relations. Its a concern that is shared by the main representative body forWelsh trade unions, the Wales TUC, as well as many of their individual member organisations.None of us underestimate the importance of economic development and regeneration in Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney.While the 81 jobs this facility could bring to the area would be a welcome boost to the local economy -we do not wantjobs at any cost, and it frankly seems a scant return considering the amount of disruption the construction and long-term operation of this site would cause local residents and the environment.
Covanta, we cant help but feel, would be getting far more out of this site than they would be putting back into the localcommunity, and we passionately believe that this is the wrong development, in the wrong place and at the wrong time.Our communities have seen many remarkable improvements in the last fifteen years: New health facilities constructedthroughout the constituency which are beginning to improve the wellbeing of the local population, a massiveinvestment in education which has seen six new schools built and Merthyr Tydfil becoming a university town, a first-class arts centre to be constructed in Merthyr Town Centre which will add to the areas tourism potential, and theWelsh Government relocating over 400 jobs to the local area.That is the image of Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney we all want to promote: proceeding with this development would sendout totally the wrong message.To put it simply, we are firmly against the proposals, and are now more convinced than ever that thisdevelopment would be bad for Merthyr Tydfll & Rhymney and its people and we will work tirelessly to showthat Covanta Energys plans are inappropriate and unacceptable.Copies of this letter will be made available to our constituents.Yours Sincerely,HUW LEWIS AM DAI HAVARD MPMerthyr Tydfil & Rhymney Merthyr Tydfil & RhymneyCLLR. BRENDAN TOOMEY CLLR. GERALD JONESPark Ward New Tredegar WardOpposition Leader, Merthyr Tydfil Council Deputy Opposition Leader, Caerphilly Council
CLLR. PHIL WILLIAMS Moriah WardDowlais Ward CLLR. DAVID HARDACRECLLR. RAY THOMAS MBE Darren Valley WardDowlais Ward 1%f:,----) CLLR. CHRIS BARRY Park WardCLLR. DAVID JONES CLLR. BRENT CARTERTown Ward Plymouth WardCLLR. BILL SMITHGurnos WardCLLR. DAVE PHILLIPSGurnos WardCLLR. CLIVE JONESPark WardCLLR. JOHN BEVANMoriah WardCLLR. GAYNOR OLIVERPontlottyn WardCLLR. LES REES MBENew Tredegar WardCLLR. RICHARD PUGH