BARRY Biomass plant operators have successfully applied to change the way one of the emissions from site is monitored.

They will now check hydrogen fluoride emissions every three months in the first year, instead of continuously.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has agreed this change because environmental legislation allows the company to use this method.

But South Wales Central AM Andrew RT Davies described the decision as “bizarre” and said Welsh Government ministers needed to “get a grip” of the situation.

NRW has agreed this change because environmental legislation allows the company to use this method.

It emphasises that this will not increase the risk to public health because emissions of other gases are still monitored continuously, and measures remain in place to make sure levels stay within legal limits.

Any rise in hydrogen fluoride would cause those emissions to rise as well, something the company would have to respond to immediately.

Operations manager for Natural Resources Wales, Nadia De Longhi said: “We want to reassure people that the change does not affect the safeguards in the environmental permit.

“This type of request is not unusual, and it’s common practice for energy recovery sites in the UK to use this method.

“We will continue regulating the site’s activity as it prepares to begin full operations.”

Vale-based South Wales Central AM Andrew RT Davies slammed the decision to lighten the EIA conditions – saying they were “bizarre”.

He said NRW granted the application despite Welsh Government ministers still considering whether to insist an EIA is carried out on the plant.

Then Minister for Environment Hannah Blythyn announced she was “minded to” insist on an EIA in February last year.

He said the situation was the “latest farce in a sorry fiasco” and demanded the Welsh Government get a grip of the situation.

Mr Davies said: “The fact the conditions have been lifted at a time when ministers are still making up their minds on whether a full EIA is necessary shows how farcical the situation has become.

“The Welsh Government have had over a year to make a decision yet for some reason it keeps getting pushed back.

“The way it has been handled becoming a joke and their competence has to be called into question.

“Ministers need to get a grip and sort this out.

“They must stop stalling, make a decision and get on with delivering the assurances local residents rightly demand.”

A Welsh Government spokeswoman said “no decision” on whether an EIA (environmental impact assessment) had been made.

She added: “NRW has a statutory role in the protection of the environment and human health from the processes and activities it regulates.

“The plant is regulated by NRW who will monitor and inspect activity at the site to ensure the company operates in accordance with the environmental permit.”

The revised environmental permit is available in full on the NRW website.