THE environmental impacts of Barry’s Incinerator will be investigated after the Welsh Government said the facility potentially breached the conditions of its planning permission.

Ministers have announced the wood burning facility in Barry Docks was found to have potentially breached its planning permission conditions following an investigation.

The Welsh Government said an ‘Environmental Statement’ will be needed on the environmental impacts of the facility to correct this breach.

The statement would “ensure that all of the potential environmental impacts which could arise from the development are collated and that communities have the opportunities to consider and respond to that information”.

It comes 15 months after the Welsh Government announced it was “minded” to direct that a formal environmental impact assessment is needed on the Barry Biomass plant in order for its planning permission to be valid.

Vale AM, Jane Hutt said: “I know this statement will be widely welcomed by the people of Barry with a fresh consultation on an environmental statement now taking place.

“I am meeting with the minister to discuss the way forward and look forward to these fresh opportunities to present the strong evidence which has been gathered on public concerns regarding the adverse environmental impacts of the proposed biomass plant in my constituency.”

But campaigners, the Docks Incinerator Action Group (DIAG) said the statement from the Welsh Government is “deliberately unclear” and suggests the legal requirement for an environmental impact assessment will not be enforced.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service asked the Welsh Government to clarify its statement but received no reply on Thursday, May 16.

DIAG said: “The timing of this misleading announcement seems to have been decided to encourage people not to show their disgust at the lack of action by the Welsh Government.

“Revoking the permit and the planning permission is the only way to return to the residents of Barry the proper level of protection.”

The Welsh Government’s statement says it “continues to consider” whether an EIA will be directed on the plant.

Barry Biomass is aiming to be fully operational in the next couple of months.

But DIAG have called for the environmental permit of the incinerator to be revoked following four breaches of the permit in March 2018.

In March last year DIAG complained of black smoke coming from the plant’s chimney drifting across Barry.

The facility was under-going pre-commissioning and testing its equipment.

An investigation found a number of minor breaches against the company’s permit and the company was given a formal warning by Natural Resources Wales.

Industry and waste regulation team leader for Natural Resources Wales, Caitriona Harvey said: “NRW continues to regulate the site in accordance with the conditions of the permit.  Currently, the plant is non-operational.”

Barry Biomass hopes to receive a subsidy from energy regulator Ofgem – although a decision on this has yet to be made.

A Barry Biomass spokeswoman said: “The Barry Biomass Project has been subject to extensive reviews and reporting over the past decade.

“Biomass UK No.2 Ltd has volunteered to the Welsh Government that it will conduct a review of this body of work in order to demonstrate that there has, at all applicable times, been full compliance with environmental-related legislation.

“Biomass UK No.2 Ltd welcomes the opportunity to correct any misunderstandings that may have arisen in relation to the project.”