At the end of February, an official application for the large scale 12.8 MW Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) incinerator in Buttington was lodged by developers Broad Energy (Wales) Limited to the Welsh Planning Inspectorate.
Over the past two years, local politicians, Russell George (Senedd Member for Montgomeryshire) and County Councillor Amanda Jenner, have been calling for a moratorium on the development of any new large scale waste incinerators in Wales.
Mr George has spoken and raised the Buttington development in the Senedd Chamber and called for a moratorium. Cllr Amanda Jenner has also submitted a petition to the Welsh Parliament Petitions Committee calling for the same.
Following consistent campaigning on this matter by Russell George, Amanda Jenner and others, earlier in March the Welsh Government announced a pivot in their policy approach in their Beyond Recycling strategy. In a passage on page thirty-two, the document states that the Welsh Government will: “Place a moratorium on any future large scale energy from waste developments, as the increase in recycling and reduction in waste already seen means that we will not need any new large scale energy from waste infrastructure to deal with the residual waste generated in Wales.”
Immediately welcoming this announcement in the Senedd chamber, Mr George asked for clarity on when this moratorium will come into effect and whether it will apply to the Buttington Incinerator application recently submitted to the Welsh Planning Inspectorate. Unable to answer these queries at the time, Russell George wrote to the Minister to ask them to confirm the position.
In a Written Statement published on the 24th March by the Welsh Government, it was stated that “The moratorium on new large scale energy from waste plants will cover those of 10MW or greater and comes into effect immediately.”
Welcoming this announcement, Russell George MS said:
“I hugely welcome this announcement having been calling for this for some time. Many residents have contacted me raising concerns about this potential development. Cleary, I would like to get absolute clarity that the Buttington development will now not proceed.
With the planning consultation due to take place in a couple of weeks, we are, however, still awaiting clarity on whether the consultation process will proceed. We have been told by the Welsh Planning Inspectorate that they too are awaiting clarification and it may be that the moratorium does not take effect until the Minister comes to make their decision at the end of the process. Therefore, the planning consultation process could still start in mid April. I have organised a remote public meeting with local residents in order to inform them of the latest news and the planning process."
Adding to this, Councillor Amanda Jenner said:
“If it is the case that this moratorium applies to the Buttington Incinerator development, residents will be hugely relieved. Ever since I was elected in 2017, I have been contacted by so many people worried about the impact of the incinerator on the community, on the school, the road infrastructure and also questioning the need for the incinerator here in Montgomeryshire.
"For the last few years, I have been working with colleagues including Russell, Craig Williams MP and others in the Senedd to highlight the concerns. I cannot tell you how pleased I am that Government has listened to us all.
"It just goes to show that you should never think something is a done deal. It is always worth raising your views with your elected representatives.”