Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has refused an environmental permit application for a waste treatment facility in south east Wales because of its â€œpotential impact on local air qualityâ€.
NRW refused to allow waste activities at the proposed facility in Cwmfelinfach, near Caerphilly, because nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions produced by the process could have a negative effect on local peopleâ€™s health.
The population in the area is already among the top 10% of the most deprived in Wales in terms of health. The decision was made on the basis that â€œthere is no known safe threshold of exposure to NO2â€.
NRW has informed the operator, Hazrem Environmental Limited, of its decision.
The proposed waste recovery facility would accept and process up to 100,000 tonnes of non-hazardous household, commercial and industrial waste per year. The activity at the site would involve sorting and segregating waste for recycling and the production of fuel.
However, NRW found that the burning of natural gas in an on-site drier would release emissions, including nitrogen dioxide, which could have a detrimental effect on the health of local people.
Jon Goldsworthy, operations manager for NRW, said: â€œOne of our main roles is to protect communities from poor environmental quality that is detrimental to peopleâ€™s health and the environment.
â€œWe received evidence during the public consultation from Public Health Wales to advise us about the potential impact on local air quality.
â€œAs a result we believe that the proposed facility has the potential to have a negative impact on the health of people living in the area. This is due to a predicted short term increase in Nitrogen Dioxide concentrations during certain weather conditions,Â such as thermal inversions.
â€œWe were not satisfied that the companyâ€™s detailed plans demonstrate that it can operate without harming people.â€
AirQualityNews.com contactedÂ Hazrem Environmental Limited and a comment is expected.