After months of delays, the multinational insurance giant, Aviva, has finally submitted its long-awaited evidence in its appeal against a decision that would see its controversial incinerator in Barry torn down

Last September, the Vale of Glamorgan Council ruled the plant should be demolished after a variety of "discrepancies” were found with its plans. 

As part of its appeal against the Vale Council's decision, Aviva is required to provide an environmental statement (ES) on the facility. The multinational's heavyweight London solicitors, Ashurst, had wanted an extra five months beyond the original July 13 deadline to file its ES.

However, Wales' new planning inspectorate, Planning and Environment Decisions Wales (PEDW), gave them until July 29 instead.

The ES was finally submitted to PEDW yesterday. 

The National Wales: Two of the younger members of DIAG. Photo: Siriol GriffithsTwo of the younger members of DIAG. Photo: Siriol Griffiths

"The people of Barry have been fighting this since 2008, and it's about time that a proper decision was taken," Paul Robertson told The National. He's the chair of the Docks Incinerator Action Group (DIAG) - the campaign group which has opposed the incinerator since plans were first mooted. 

Yesterday evening, members of DIAG gathered on Dock View Road, which overlooks the Aviva plant, to discuss the next part of its campaign against the facility. 

The National Wales: Paul Robertson, Chair of the Docks Incinerator Action Group, stands on Dock View Road overlooking the Aviva incinerator. Photo: Siriol GriffithsPaul Robertson, Chair of the Docks Incinerator Action Group, stands on Dock View Road overlooking the Aviva incinerator. Photo: Siriol Griffiths

"Deprived areas are always picked on to have these incinerators, " said Mr Robertson. "And there is plenty of evidence that they're detrimental to physical and mental health not to mention the environment. 

"I mean, they're never put in a leafy suburb, are they? So what does that tell you?"

READ MORE:

The long-running saga of the Barry incinerator has been rumbling on for almost 15 years.

After much to-ing and fro-ing and a public inquiry, planning for the incinerator was approved in 2015. Building work began the year after that, but by 2017, a dispute had arisen regarding a huge water tank which had been constructed without permission. 

The National Wales: The Barry biomass plant with the town of Barry behind it. Photo: Ade PitmanThe Barry biomass plant with the town of Barry behind it. Photo: Ade Pitman
It also came to light that planning consent had been granted without a statutory Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) having been carried out at the time. An EIA is a process which evaluates the likely environmental impacts of a proposed project or development - before it is built. 

The plant just off Woodham Road in Barry Docks was marketed as being able to generate electricity by 'gasifying' waste wood; in other words, by heating it to a very high temperature.

However, environmental campaigners have accused Aviva of "greenwashing" and maintain the burner will have a negative effect on the environment and the health of local people. 

The troubled plant has never been fully operational. 

The National Wales: Members of the Docks Incinerator Action Group gather on Dock View Road in Barry, overlooking the incinerator. Photo: Siriol GriffithsMembers of the Docks Incinerator Action Group gather on Dock View Road in Barry, overlooking the incinerator. Photo: Siriol Griffiths

"I'm an optimist so I don't think it should be torn down but rather repurposed," said Dennis Clark, Vice-Chair of DIAG. 

"We have a huge housing development being built right next to the incinerator. This is a town that has lost all of its social areas. So that building could become a cinema, a bowling alley or a skate park, or all three - it's a huge building. 

"Aviva's behaviour is outrageous and they could come out of this better by saying they've done the right thing eventually, rather than having to tear it down and rush off with their tail between their legs. 

Aviva has been approached for comment. 

If you value The National's journalism, help grow our team of reporters by becoming a subscriber.