AROUND 100 people from South Wales have gathered at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay to protest about incinerators proposed for the region on Saturday, November 23.

The demonstration, organised by the Barry-based Docks Incineration Action Group (DIAG), saw public and politicians air concerns about the installation of renewable energy plants in Barry, Cardiff, Swansea and Usk.

The protest followed news that the biomass project, in Woodham Road, Barry Dock, had begun commissioning – 10 years after proposals were made for a plant to locate in the town.

A Natural Resources Wales (NRW) spokeswoman said: “The Barry biomass plant has this week begun the next phase of testing, including commissioning of the turbine, generator set and woodchip systems.

“We will continue to regulate the site in accordance with the conditions of its environmental permit.

“The operator is keeping us informed about this work, and with progress on other requirements and measures to be put in place to reduce noise levels, before the plant can become operational.

“Our officers will be monitoring these activities by carrying out checks, visits, and technical audits on all aspects of site operation to ensure the operator meets the stringent controls in its permit.

“We informed the Welsh Government and the planning authority as soon as the operator told us about its plans.

“We are encouraging the operator to keep the local community updated on how the operations at the plant are progressing, and it has published a letter to residents on its website.

“We will update people on any issues in relation to compliance with the permit.”

In the November 13 letter to residents, the Biomass team said: “Following the completion of the installation of extensive noise mitigation equipment which is essential to enable the plant to run on renewable fuel, we are soon to re-start the plant in order to prepare the renewable energy power station for operation.

“During this phase which will commence on or around 18th November 2019, it is likely that you will see some steam rising from the plant.

“We have taken extensive measures to mitigate any noise produced by the plant which include specifically engineered silencers and acoustic enclosures.

“We will advise you of any other activities which may be of interest as we move towards commercial operation.

“We are working in conjunction with NRW and will remain in regular contact with them through the next phase and moving forward into the plant’s operational lifecycle.

“As part of our commitment to achieving the highest possible standards of operational excellence we aim to monitor every stage of the project to ensure that our work does not cause undue disturbance, inconvenience or stress. “

Vale of Glamorgan youth parliament member Lleucu William was one of three Barry youngsters who voiced concerns.

She said: “That this has been allowed to go ahead is nothing short of scandalous.

“This is a woeful tale of collusion, cowardice and cover-up by the Welsh Labour Government, Tory and Labour Vale of Glamorgan councillors and of course, NRW.

“All of them are collectively responsible for failing to protect future generations of Barry residents.

“Biomass incinerators are not good for the environment.

“They do burn litter and can create energy - but they also release a vast amount of pollutants including metals, sulphur and plastics.

“I call on the government of Wales to show some backbone.

“They must be honest and acknowledge that they should have held an environmental impact assessment on the incinerator - and that they should hold one now.

“In the name of my generation and generations to come, I call on the Welsh Government to honour their Future Generations Act and save the children – before it’s too late.”

Vale AM and Welsh Government deputy minister and chief whip, Jane Hutt said: “We met for over a year to try and have an influence on an environmental permit.

“This is a private company who have set up in Barry.

“None of us wanted this to happen.”

Ms Hutt said she had called for the incinerator to be stopped and urged people to look at her website and tweets.

“People will have to learn from Barry,” she added. “We all did out best as elected representatives.”