Plans for the Prenergy biomass plant in Port Talbot, which could generate up to 350 megawatts of power a year, can now move forward.

In August last year Prenergy submitted an application to change some conditions to the Environmental Permit for their planned station, which has been planned for more than three years.

Specifically, the company wanted to increase the emission limits for nitrous oxide, sulphur dioxide and hydrogen chloride – as well as burning wood pellets as well as wood chip.

However, local people have been campaigning against the station claiming their health would be damaged if it was allowed to go ahead.

Environment Agency Wales’ spokeswoman, Mary Youell, said: “If we thought these changes would compromise air quality standards or the communities we protect, we would not be accepting them.

“We have discussed these changes with health professionals from the local health Board and other key organisations who have endorsed our decision.”

A spokesman Port Talbot residents against power stations (PT-RAPS) said: “We are strongly opposed to any increase in emissions, due to many years of poor air quality experienced in the town from the steelworks.

“We also believe operating licences should only be awarded to actual operators, not developers posing as operators, who merely intend to sell the projects on.

“Prenergy has maintained throughout the project that there was a plentiful supply of wood around the world to fuel this development.

“The fact that Prenergy has had to apply for a change to the permit to increase emissions, thereby allowing it to burn whatever wood it can lay its hands on, is proof enough that there are supply problems with the fuel.”

Luke Walsh

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