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Covanta drops 750,000tpa Merthyr Tydfil incinerator plans

Covanta have withdrawn their plans for the Brig y Cwm Merthyr Tydfil incinerator, claiming that their proposal for one big incinerator was out of step with the approach of local authorities and that this made the project unviable. Covanta were one of the three remaining bidders for Prosiect Gwyrdd (Project Green) after WRG pulled out in April/May 2011.

Covanta’s application to the IPC for a 750,000 tonne incinerator next to the Ffos-y-Fran opencast mine in Cwmbargoed, Merthyr Tydfil was due to go to open floor hearings on the 27th of October 2011.

The two remaining bidders for the Prosiect Gwyrdd contract are Veolia (who propose a 260,000 tonne incinerator in Bowlease Common, Llanwern, Newport) and Viridor (who are proposing a 350,000 tonne incinerator at Trident Park, Cardiff Bay).

The Prosiect Gwyrdd partnership includes Caerphilly Borough County Council, The County Council of the City and County of Cardiff, Monmouthshire County Council, Newport Council and Vale of Glamorgan Council. The preferred bidder was expected to be announced in Autumn 2012 and contracts signed in 2012.

Accoring to local campaigners:

The whole day was completely surreal, with Facebook pages going crazy with messages of congratulations and numerous telephone calls and messages. The rest of the day was spent arranging an impromptu evening at Dowlais Rugby Club celebrating the unpredictable result, when Covanta announced they had pulled out. Everyone was over the moon with the announcement. Unity won the day and a sigh of relief for residents all over the Valleys.

Covanta blamed the partnership of local authorities that covered 40% of Wales (but not the other 60%), stating:

The local authorities have adopted a fragmented approach (not a national approach) to dealing with residual waste. This makes the plant unviable. We have therefore decided to terminate the planning process and concentrate on our other UK projects.

Spokespeople for UVAG Terry Evans, Phil Duggan, Kerry Baker Thomas and Chris and Alyson Austin said:

This is not the end; we will do all we can to help other groups across the country fight against incinerator proposals. The people here are of the mindset recycle don’t burn.

According to campaigner Joanna England:

I’d like to think that Covanta read through all of our written submissions and realised that our arguments were too good, and that they could never win, so they gave up sooner rather than later to avoid an embarrassing rejection by the IPC!

The Covanta Incinerator Objection Group issued the following statement:

We would like to thank everyone who has taken part in the campaign and supported us. The level of support we have had from local residents has been tremendous and we believe that this has made all the difference. Now we can look forward to a future without the threat of a huge polluting incinerator blighting our lives. A victory for people power and common sense!

Eddy Blanche said:

Just thanks for all the support and that let this be a lesson to anyone that wants to try to rape the valley. We are here and we are waiting…

Gerald Mahoney’s message to campaigners is:

Just to say never give up never surrender [apologies to Galaxy Quest]. Everyone needs to be proud of their efforts. Even though I believe Covanta pulled the plug for economic reasons I also believe that the efforts of the community actually influenced these conditions.

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