Deeside incinerator plan 'causing fear in community' claim


Romilly Scragg

A VILLAGE has had the “fear of God” put into them at news of plans for a massive waste incinerator.

American company Wheelabrator Technologies Inc (WTI) will submit a planning application for an £800 million waste incinerator in the coming weeks.

The proposed plant, which would be built on a former steelworks site on Deeside Industrial Park, would burn up to 200,000 tonnes of waste a year.

Penyffordd community councillor Colin Bithell said the news had filled people with trepidation.

“The headlines we’ve got this week puts the fear of God in us,” he said.

“The incinerator (proposed for Deeside) is a tremendous thing.

“If they make any mistakes there, I don’t think the public understand how difficult it’s going to be.”

Flintshire Council’s current administration has said it is effectively tied into moving ahead with the incinerator by a decision taken by previous council leaders. 

Pulling out of the five-council contract could cost more than £70 million, council leader Aaron Shotton has said. But Cllr Bithell said he was unimpressed with Flintshire Council’s stance.

“It’s more or less guaranteed they’re going to get a contract and it’s not right,” he said.

“There’s not a cat in hell’s chance of the community wanting that but the council say if we don’t go ahead with it we’ll be charged £71 million.

“It’s a lot of money but if we have an accident, that’s going to seem like chicken feed. How many people are going to suffer healthwise?

“At end of day, it’s going to be there for 20 years and we’ll be a depot and be burning rubbish from the whole of North Wales in that one area.”

He said the issue of maintaining an air-pollution monitoring station at Penyffordd Primary School next to the Hanson Cement plant was more important than ever. 

“I’m not blaming Hanson Cement, but we need security more than ever,” he added. 

The station was installed to keep an eye on emissions from the cement plant. It has been a subject of controversy since the company said it was no longer needed. 

Earlier this year, Hanson Cement postponed decommissioning the monitoring station for another 12 months and community councillors will meet with the Padeswood plant manager later this month in an attempt to resolve the issue.

Hanson Cement spokesman David Weeks said the company was happy to co-operate with Penyffordd Community Council.

“We’re quite happy to talk to them about retaining the monitoring station,” he said. “But it’s there to monitor what’s coming out of the cement factory. If we keep it in place, that’s what we’ll be monitoring.”

WTI put forward the proposals after its appointment as preferred bidder by the North Wales Residual Waste Treatment Project, a partnership between five local authorities – with Flintshire as lead.

The proposed plant which would be built on a former steelworks site on Deeside Industrial Park, would burn non-recyclable waste over the next 25 years from Flintshire, Denbighshire, Gwynedd, Conwy and Anglesey.

Flintshire Council declined to respond to Cllr Bithell’s comments. 

A spokesman from Wheelabrator said: “We’re proposing to use tried and tested technology and will be channelling 40 years of experience into the development and operation of Parc Adfer. 

“This facility will be capable of monitoring emissions continuously, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will report directly to Natural Resources Wales, which will independently regulate our operation.”

Recognising local concerns, the spokesman said Wheelabrator intends to allow for additional air quality monitoring for its site and provide “additional assurance for local communities”.

See full story in the Leader

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