Buttington Quarry - ERF

Received 23 May 2021
From Elizabeth Ferguson


Dear Planning Inspectorate

Re DNS/3214813, Buttington Quarry - ERF, Broad Energy (Wales)

In my capacity as both a local resident in the nearby village of Leighton and as a climate and energy professional, I am writing to object to the proposed development of an energy recovery facility at Buttington.

As a local resident, I am concerned about the following impacts on myself and my local community:
- Evidence of need. There is not a local or national need for this project. In the whole of Powys, it is expected that we will produce only 14,000 tonnes of non-recyclable domestic waste this year (a fraction of the proposed capacity). The Welsh zero-waste commitment and the recent strategic assessment on the future need for energy from waste capacity in Wales make it evident that there is neither a local nor national need for such a facility.
- Air quality, health and well-being. I want my government to approve initiatives that will improve our local air quality and the health and well-being of our communities in Wales. I am absolutely dismayed that it is even being considered to locate a project that will release dangerous emissions near to local houses and a local school. I moved from a large city to the countryside because I (together with my fellow human beings) need to breathe clean air to stay healthy. I want us to preserve and enhance the clean air we have in Wales. I do not want my local area (or any area) to be an unnecessary dumping ground for pollution and be forced to breathe dangerous particulates. There are better ways to tackle our waste and energy needs as outlined by Welsh government strategies on these matters.
- Traffic and emissions from road transport. The A458 road is already at full capacity and developments that result in additional (and unnecessary) HGV traffic should be rejected. I have personally experienced too many near misses with large HGVs which came over the centre line on the Cefn bridge. I am also concerned about air pollution from additional HGVs on the road.
- Our local economy. There is no local need or desire for this project and therefore the economic impacts will only be detrimental. An eyesore such as this proposed incinerator situated along a major road into Wales from England will negatively impact the tourism appeal of both the natural beauty of our local area and as a key entry-point into the rest of Wales.
- Trust in government. I want to feel that I can trust my government to make decisions that support the interests and needs of the many people in our local communities not the business interests of the few. If the government approves this proposal, it will fundamentally damage trust with the local communities in this area (and likely further afield).

As a climate and energy professional, I work with governments from all over the world on climate and energy policy. I have always been impressed by (and promoted on a global level) the holistic and world-leading approach of the Welsh Government on climate and energy issues. This planned development raises the following additional concerns:
- Increased waste. Our zero-waste and beyond recycling strategies outline targets for zero-waste without the need for landfill or energy recovery and clearly state that there is no need for new waste incineration. There is evidence that waste incinerators actually generate demand for additional waste and reduce recycling rates. This proposed development would therefore be counter-productive to our zero-waste goals.
- Increased emissions. The recently announced net-zero emissions target commits Wales to aggressively reduce emissions by 63% this decade alone and 100% by 2050. Additionally, our First Minister, in announcing his new cabinet last week, promised that climate change would be at the heart of decision making. Today, there are many cost-effective ways to generate electricity with zero emissions and in order to achieve our climate targets it is essential that any project that contributes to increased emissions is not approved.
- Delivery of key government strategies and global reputation as a climate leader. In the Well-being of Future Generations Act, the Towards Zero Waste and Beyond Recycling strategies and the recent net-zero commitment, we in Wales have committed to put people, future generations, our global climate and our natural environment at the heart of every decision. If this proposal were to be approved, we would both damage our global reputation as a climate leader and most importantly, jeopardize the possibility to achieve these carefully considered and essential goals. Every decision that we make in Wales must be in support of initiatives that benefit future generations, reduce emissions and reduce waste. Approval of this project would do the opposite. I want to trust that my government will follow through on its promises and in my professional capacity I want to be able to continue to promote Wales as a climate leader.

Finally, with the recent Moratorium in March (with immediate effect) on such projects, I do not understand why this planning application has been validated in the first place or why there are still reports that the proposal is being put forward for consideration?

I am therefore writing in the sincere hope, that my above-mentioned concerns are not even necessary and that I can continue to trust my government to uphold its promises as a proud resident of this beautiful country.

Yours sincerely

Elizabeth Ferguson