Buttington Quarry - ERF

Received 19 May 2021
From CPRW Montgomeryshire Branch


Buttington Incinerator
Comments from CPRW Montgomeryshire Branch

CPRW Montgomeryshire have read the submission by BIIG and would wish to support the highly detailed analysis carried out into all aspects of the project and believe that the conclusions they reach reflect the very real threat that this project poses to this area of Montgomeryshire. We will not repeat the conclusions that we endorse but would wish to add the following comments:

The project is located in a particularly sensitive location as a principal entry point into Mid Wales. As one approaches Wales along the A458, and also along the Cambrian railway line, the Breidden hillscape gives a relatively sudden welcome to a rural Wales topography that gives joy to visitors and returners alike. To then sweep round the corner at Trewern and be confronted by a massive, contorted structure awkwardly positioned on a ridge and emphasised by its chimney and plume will appear dominating and anachronistic but also raise concerns as to the Welsh attitude to its landscape and priorities. Although it may be viewed by some as too emotional to consider the degradation and industrialisation of this distinctive entry into Mid Wales, such cultural landscape issues are important to people. It is fair to say that most people associate a tall chimney , together with its continual plume, as degrading the area to an industrial landscape and now perceive it as signifying a return to a ‘smokestack’ technology.

The strategic direction for dealing with waste is to reduce and recycle. This is amply illustrated by the Welsh Government’s policy of declaring a moratorium on the construction of facilities such as this incinerator. As an Authority Powys is leading the way in recycling in Wales and Wales itself has one of the best recycling rates globally. The irony would not be lost of building an incinerator at the entrance to Wales to predominantly burn English waste (refer to figures in the BIIG submission). Such a facility is now widely seen as outdated and research is continuing apace towards processing more waste materials into reusable commodities . The incinerator would become an extremely visible symbol of the folly of moving waste considerable distances from urban areas, with the consequent significant CO2 output, to produce even greater CO2 emissions in the incineration process. This would all be in contradiction of Welsh policy and Powys's sterling efforts to reduce and recycle waste.

Not only is the landscape impact severe in the Trewern area but also highly detrimental to key assets such as Offa’s Dyke Path, the Severn Way and the Montgomeryshire Canal. The Powys LDP recognises all of these assets as Strategic Resources that should not be adversely impacted.

Offa’s Dyke Path is predominantly walked from south to north and as it descends from Long Mountain the ZTV shows that the incinerator will be very prominent in the walker's view with the visibility for the whole of that time being similar to that shown in Viewpoint 22. As stated in the LVIA, the effect at this viewpoint is Major for sensitive receptors so the total effect over this time will be highly significant. This is followed by virtually a day’s walking with the facility readily visible as one progresses to Four Crosses. Sight of it will not be lost until the walker drops down off Llanymynech Hill. This degradation for such a long period of walking is not what one would expect for a National Trail.

Similarly the effects upon Powis Castle gardens (with some of the highest visitor figures in Wales) are described as Moderate (and Major during construction) by the developers. There is a presumption that the ‘camouflage’ effect will be effective in reducing the impact of the building. In practice such effects are never that successful and the 'camouflage' is likely to give the impression of a gigantic vertical scrap yard on a ridge. In many views it will be seen against the sky so the 'camouflage' is likely to make it even more visible.

The transport of the feedstock and residual waste is of great concern as regards safety at Cefn Bridge given, as the BIIG figures show, this is an accident blackspot. The additional use by HGVs will significantly increase the likelihood of an accident leading to a vehicle on the railway line with possibly disastrous consequences (e.g. Great Heck where 10 people were killed). A recent collision on this bridge (see BIIG report) resulted in a lorry cab hanging over the bridge parapet above the railway. If the search for a suitable site had been undertaken before deciding to locate an incinerator at Buttington then a site constrained by such a dangerous bridge would never have been contemplated.

Overall the facility would appear to be the wrong technology in the wrong place.

Chair CPRW Montgomeryshire