MORE than 250 people gathered outside Barry's Memorial Hall for what was described as the town's "biggest ever demonstration”.

On Monday, April 3 concerned citizens of all ages stood waiting for Welsh Government First Minister Carwyn Jones to arrive for his Carwyn Connect question and answer session at the venue.

The group were protesting plans for a gasification plant on Barry docks, which is awaiting an operating licence from Natural Resources Wales.

Biomass UK No. 2 told the Barry & District News it expects the building to be completed by the end of the summer and the plant to be operational in October this year.

Campaigner, Alexis Liasatos said that people were angry about "the monstrosity" being built on Barry docks.

Inside the venue, Carwyn Jones was asked about said he would ask Natural Resources Wales (NRW) if it would extend the May 8 consultation deadline for the licence application.

Mr Jones said the campaigners needed to submit “evidence” to NRW.

He added: “NRW are there to provide an honest assessment. Not to rubber stamp things. The planning authority and NRW have to consider the impact of proposals on health and the environment.”

Campaigners told Mr Jones they believed the Biomass licence was being rushed through without a proper consultation on the health and safety consequences of the ‘incinerator’.

Mr Liasatos said: “If Carwyn Jones can succeed in getting the NRW to give us a decent extension on the consultation period, say four or so more months, however long it takes for our questions and concerns can be fully and frankly answered and backed up with proper, independent data, then Carwyn will have proven that he really was taking our plight seriously."

The plant was given planning approval in light of a costly appeal which came as the result of the Vale council's failed attempt to reject plans for a “wood-fuelled renewable energy plant” in July 2009.

Vale AM Jane Hutt said she was pleased Mr Jones had relayed residents’ concerns to NRW in a letter on April 4.

She added: “I have supported residents every step of the way since the original application was proposed eight years ago -submitting objections to the multiple planning applications associated with this development.”

An NRW spokeswoman confirmed the First Minister had made contact.

She said: “Whilst we have statutory determination responsibility, we always review our options in relation to public engagement and are working with local elected representatives and the Docks Incinerator Action Group (DIAG) to ensure they understand our role and how they can respond to the consultation process.

“We will only allow a permit to be granted if we are satisfied that the proposed facility will not harm the health of local residents or damage the environment. We are legally obliged to grant a permit if a business can show that the proposed site meets all the legal, environmental, technological, and health requirements of UK and European law.”

A Biomass spokesman said the company understood some members of the local community had concerns.

He said: “We can assure them of our commitment to meeting the highest environmental and safety standards throughout the life-cycle of the project. The plant will use waste wood that would otherwise go to a local landfill, and the technology is recognised and encouraged by the UK government as being an efficient means of generating green power."

A petition against the facility 'incinerator' has gained more than 2000 signatures.

The online 'Stop the Barry incinerator' petition states: "The proximity to many thousands of homes, when industrial sites are vacant well away from the town.

"The chimney stack in line with the windows of neighbouring houses can give very high pulses of fumes in a home for short periods."

To view the petition, visit

A further protest is planned to take place on King Square, Barry, from 12pm to 2pm on Saturday, April 8.

NRW can be contacted during the consultation period by emailing before May 8.