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11th December 2017 - Islwyn MP slams ‘unacceptable and shocking’ waste plant decision

Islwyn MP slams ‘unacceptable and shocking’ waste plant decisionChris Evans, the Member of Parliament for Islwyn, has labelled a decision by the Planning Inspectorate Wales ‘unacceptable and shocking’ and suggested the appeal result has put the needs of big business before people’s health.

The Planning Inspectorate Wales decided today to allow the appeal of Hazrem Environmental to build a Waste Transfer Facility at Nine Mile Point in Cwmfelinfach. An environmental permit was originally rejected by Natural Resources Wales.

Mr Evans said: ‘Today’s decision is unacceptable and shocking. This is a clear example of the Planning Inspectorate putting the needs of big business before local residents’ health and wellbeing.

‘Opposition to this proposed facility is based on the unique geography of the Sirhowy valley. Noxious gases will be pumped out at a frightening rate and become trapped in the valley harming local residents.

‘That is to say nothing of the huge increase in heavy goods vehicle traffic which will clog up the roads and release even more noxious gases right on people’s doorsteps through Ynysddu and Wattsville. The Inspectorate admits that one monitoring station is already nearing maximum acceptable limits.

‘The Sirhowy valley has some of the highest levels of deprivation in the country. Today’s decision can only make it worse. This development could make Islwyn Road in Wattsville another Hafodyrynys road in Crumlin, which has the worst road pollution in the UK outside of London.

‘Serious questions have to be answered about why the Planning Inspectorate is more prepared to listen to lawyers hired by big businesses rather than ordinary campaigners who are simply trying to protect their health and environment. The evidence submitted by Hazrem seems to change every time it is submitted. I have no confidence in the evidence submitted and I am concerned they are being given a free pass at the expense of residents.

‘I am seeking an urgent meeting with Hannah Blythyn AM, the Minister for Environment at the Welsh Government to discuss this matter. We need to stop our valleys being ravaged and polluted by big business.’

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