LEADING Vale politicians met senior project management at Barry’s Biomass UK No.2 Ltd gasification plant site to discuss the licence application on Tuesday, April 11.

Vale MP Alun Cairns and Vale AM Jane Hutt met with the company’s representatives to hear about the scheme and ask questions.

A project spokesman said the company “welcomed” the visit.

He said: “We covered a lot of ground; including explaining the rigorous procedures being followed on the environmental permit application and the extensive monitoring and abatement measures incorporated into the plant to ensure it meets the highest safety standards. We also wanted to make clear that the project welcomes constructive suggestions from the local community as part of its responsible neighbour programme.

“We want to reiterate our commitment to local residents that the project will meet the very highest environmental and safety standards. We are aware that incorrect information about the project has been circulating locally, and this was discussed in some detail with the visiting MP and AM visitors.”

Following the meeting, Mr Cairns said: "As my record on this matter clearly shows, I have been unequivocally against this development since the very beginning of the first planning application.

"The meeting enabled me to strongly and directly raise residents' concerns and I will be robustly continuing to help residents to oppose the granting of a license from Natural Resources Wales (NRW)."

Vale AM Jane Hutt added: “It was important to attend this briefing on the Biomass plant, but I continue to be concerned about the impact of this development on the community that I serve and represent. I therefore welcome the independent, technical assessment arranged by Barry Town Council. I also understand that NRW will shortly be confirming a new date for the environmental permit determination.”

The project spokesman told the Barry & District News that Aviva Investors was not the “owner” of the project and that it was owned by a fund with many investors of which Aviva is the fund manager.

He added: “The project is on track to complete construction in August before commissioning commences during the autumn. The plant is expected to be fully operational by the year-end.

“We are not aware of any further extension to the public consultation process. We are aware that Barry Town Council has taken the sensible decision to engage such an expert to help them form their views as a statutory consultee and we have volunteered access to the project’s permitting advisor to provide input if requested.”

NRW said it would soon issue official notification on whether the permit consultation deadline would be extended.