CONCERNED residents crammed into a Barry Town Council planning meeting to hear decision-makers approve funding of up to £5000 to contest controversial plans for a waste wood incinerator on Barry docks.

Campaigners hoping to prevent Biomass UK No.2 Ltd operating a "gasification facility" at Woodham Road, in Barry, gave committee members their opinions before councillors agreed that they should hire an expert to make representations to Natural Resources Wales (NRW).

NRW are currently holding a consultation into the plans before deciding whether to grant the licence necessary to operate the facility, which is already being built.

On Monday, March 6 residents visited the NRW’s Cardiff office to hand in 150 letters calling for an "improved consultation".

Seven years ago Sunrise Renewables won an appeal after their plans for a wood fired renewable energy plant were rejected by the Vale planning committee.

In March 2016 Biomass UK No.2 Ltd, submitted a full planning application which was approved.

Addressing councillors, resident Alexis Liosatos, 48, of Kingsland Crescent, said the plant would use "chips of used wood and MDF, some with glues, solvents, varnish, plastics, paints and melamine coatings".

He said: "When this is burned, large amounts of nitrogen dioxide and nano-particles with metals such as zinc, are released from the chimney stack and into the environment."

He added that it appears that work has already begun on building the incinerator on the docks.

“This incinerator is being built without assessment of the health risks to the public," he said. "Clearly, Biomass think their licence is a foregone conclusion, a done deal, even before Biomass have lit their incinerator.”

Plaid Baruc councillor, Shirley Hodges who proposed seeking independent expert advice, said the number of people attending the meeting proved it was an issue of concern.

She said: “We need that research to be fully informed and we need to get expert advice.”

Cllr Hodges and Cllr Ian Johnson requested an extraordinary full council meeting, ahead of the NRW’s May 8 consultation deadline, to approve the funds and so that councillors can enable town clerk Emily Forbes to secure a consultancy service.

Speaking on the issue of representation, before the meeting, Docks Incinerator Action Group spokesman, Max Wallis said: “Much of Barry can be impacted from the incinerator plume.

“There are concerns that the data is flawed, incomplete and inadequate.”

A public meeting will be held at the Castleland community centre, Belvedere Crescent, Barry, at 7pm on Tuesday, March 14.