THE Welsh Government has said it would be "inappropriate" to divulge the reasons as to why it is 'minded' to direct an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the new Barry Docks gasification facility.

Environment secretary Hannah Blythyn AM confirmed in a tweet last week that the Welsh Government was 'minded' to direct the EIA for the current planning application, set to be considered by the Vale council in the near future.

The EIA will seemingly only apply to the firm's present application, which is limited to considering plans to construct a fire prevention water tank and amendments to the car park.

The 'incinerator' has now commenced it's 'pre-commissioning phase', which the Vale council have warned is likely to cause noise and steam emissions for the next several weeks. Works are to be restricted to between 9am and 6pm, Monday to Friday, to minimise disruption.

The Welsh Government also declined to say why a similar EIA direction had not been issued during the original decision process.

Ms Blythyn said on Twitter: "We have informed the developer of the Barry Biomass plant we are minded to direct an Enviro Impact Assessment must accompany their planning application, currently before (the Vale) Council. Any representations they make will be taken into account before a final decision is made."

She did add however that the developer would have the opportunity to identify reasons if they believed the EIA was unnecessary.

A Welsh Government spokeswoman said: "We have provided the developer detailed reasoning why the development falls under the relevant regulations that determine the need for EIA. It would not be appropriate to comment publicly on these reasons.

"Decisions on the need for EIA are for the local planning authority to make. In some cases we will interpret the law differently to the initial opinion of the local planning authority."

Cllr Jonathan Bird, Vale council cabinet member for regeneration and planning, said: “Following an assessment of the proposals for the Barry gasification plant, Welsh Government appears to have directed that the planning application should be accompanied by an Environmental Impact Assessment. The council is currently awaiting the outcome of discussions between Welsh Government and the applicant over the requirement for this.

“It should also be noted that at this stage Welsh Government have invited comments from the applicant prior to issuing a final decision.”

In a further development, Vale of Glamorgan Councillor Vince Bailey has tabled a motion for councillors to unanimously criticise Natural Resources Wales' decision to grant the facility an operating licence earlier this month.

Cllr Bailey said: “We need to take a side, so that the public know the council is truly speaking for them and acting on their behalf.

“The government is cracking under pressure. We need to press home the point that Barry residents cannot be exposed to extra pollution without a proper environmental assessment."