£150m Cardiff waste incinerator gets 'draft' approval

Plans for a waste incinerator, capable of converting energy to power 50,000 homes, have been backed.

The Environment Agency's "draft decision" will include a month's public consultation before a final decision.

The £150m plant already has planning permission from Cardiff council but is opposed by Friends of the Earth.

Graham Hillier, from Environment Agency Wales, said: "We can see no reason, at this stage, why Viridor should not be given an environmental permit."

Viridor Waste Management has been given the approval for a waste facility in Trident Park, in the Splott area of the city.

The company has said the "waste to energy" plant will create hundreds of construction jobs and then up to 60 permanent jobs.

The Environment Agency said its permit relates to the "impact of the facility on the environment and on people's health".

It does not relate to issues such as traffic, visual impact, operating hours and light pollution, all of which were covered by the planning permission granted by Cardiff council last month.

Mr Hillier said: "We have carried out a rigorous investigation over the last 13 months and received specialist advice on health related matters

"At this stage we do not anticipate that the facility will cause any significant risk to the health of people who live nearby, or to the environment."

Residents have been fighting the application from Virdior for more than a year. Last June the proposals for the plant on the site a former copper, iron and steel works were rejected by the local authority.

It is estimated that more than 250 lorries each day will deliver 350,000 tonnes of waste a year to the site.

Last year Cardiff's planning committee decided the proposal would result in "the unsustainable transportation of waste".

But the plans were passed last month after Viridor agreed to pay £182,096 towards "transportation infrastructure enhancements" in the city. The firm said it would also set up a liaison group to work with the local community in Splott.

The Cardiff branch of Friends of the Earth has called the plant a "huge, wasteful and polluting incinerator".

Splott councillor Martin Holland said figures for 250,000 lorry journeys in and out of the area in the first five years were "frightening".

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