VALE council leader Cllr John Thomas has clarified the council's position on the Barry 'incinerator' saying although the matter is complex he "would prefer" that the plant was “not being provided in Barry”.

The leader issued a statement to the Barry and District News following a full council meeting in which a member of the public heckled from the gallery, demanding a "yes or no" answer over whether the council supports the facility.

Planning permission for the Biomass UK No 2 gasification facility was granted in 2015, six years after plans for a "wood-fuelled renewable energy plant" were refused.

An appeal against the refusal was upheld by the Welsh Assembly, resulting in an £80,000 bill for the council following a three day hearing in 2010.

A second application was submitted in January 2015 which had amended the development previously approved.

This application was for the gasification facility which is currently being constructed on Barry docks and is awaiting a decision over a operating licence from Natural Resources Wales (NRW).

The facility has become a concern for many in Barry, with campaigners taking to the streets in opposition in recent months.

Earlier this year the former council leader Neil Moore slammed what he called the "scaremongering" and "lies" regarding how the plant will operate and how it came to receive planning permission.

Cllr John Thomas, leader of the new Conservative council which came to power in the recent local election has now said on record that he is not in favour of the plant.

His statement follows a member public heckling from the Vale council’s public gallery.

Dad-of-two David Weston demanded the authority give a "yes or no" answer at its full council meeting on Wednesday, June 27.

Vale mayor, Cllr Janice Charles advised David Weston that he would be removed from the chamber if he continued to heckle.

Dad-of-two Mr Weston, 52, said: “I saw that two questions were going to be asked about the incinerator and thought I would go and see what it was all about. It was a straightforward question. The people of the Vale of Glamorgan want to know.”

Following the meeting the Barry and District News asked the council to confirm its position.

In response Cllr Thomas said: "I was asked this same question at a recent council meeting.

"I advised that the council has previously refused planning permission for the facility but an appeal to the planning inspectorate was allowed.

"The issue is complex and not straightforward and the issuing of a permit is a matter for NRW.

"That said, in an ideal world and given the highly sensitive nature of the facility and residents’ concerns, I would prefer that the facility was not being provided in Barry."

Biomass has a deadline of Friday, July 14 to answer questions asked by NRW, following the end of its initial public consultation.