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Caernarfon Lân

Diogelu ein iechyd ac amgylchedd | Protecting our health and environment

Press release: Locals oppose “polluting” concrete crusher
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This is a press release that was recently sent out. Picture: Siân Gwenllian MS with campaign group ‘Caernarfon Lân.’

Caernarfon Lân is a group of Caernarfon residents and concerned supporters campaigning against two developments planned in and around the former Seiont brickworks site, Caernarfon. 

The first of the proposals by Jones Brothers Ltd is a ten-engine, 20MW gas-fired 'peaking plant' to generate electricity to sell to the National Grid at times of high demand. Amongst the many concerns about that proposal are toxic emissions and noise pollution and its possible adverse effect on health and nature. The second proposal is an application to install a concrete crushing and processing plant on the same site, right next to the ten gas-fired engines

Gretel Leeb, who chairs the committee leading on Caernarfon Lân’s opposition to the two proposals, has coordinated the writing of two substantial Objection Documents setting out technical, regulatory and ethical reasons why both proposals should be turned down.  She says:

“Our group has campaigned for months against the proposed gas-fired peaking plant in Caernarfon, setting out clearly the environmental and health threats posed by that initial proposal.

“Then, in the run up to Christmas, new proposals came to light for concrete crushing and processing operations on the same site.

“The proposed location, the site of the old Seiont Quarry, should set alarm bells ringing for local people, as the topography and situation of the site, surrounded by housing estates, a hospital, a local park and sports fields, the River Seiont and ancient natural woodland, makes it probably the worst place for these two highly polluting developments. 

“Gas-fired peaking plants emit high levels of noise when they are operating and several harmful pollutants including Nitrogen Oxides, the health impacts of which include increases in respiratory diseases and asthma; eye, nose, and throat irritation; heart conditions; and lung damage. 

“On top of all of that we now find that we’d be exposed to very serious threats to health from the noise, dust and harmful particulates that would be generated by the proposed concrete processing and by the constant passage of an estimated 120 lorries per day. The threat of damage to local ecosystems and to biodiversity, from the same pollutants, is also a cause for very great concern. 

“Neither of these two proposals would align with new Welsh Government regulations and changes in planning policy concerning noise, air pollution and net benefit to biodiversity.”

The Caernarfon Lân campaign held a public meeting at Caernarfon Football Club in November to discuss their opposition to the development. Siân Gwenllian represents the town in the Senedd and was present at the meeting. She has said:

“I have expressed my concerns regarding a proposed peaking plant gas station in the town of Caernarfon as early as August 2023, and I have aired those concerns to the Welsh Government which will ultimately make a decision based on the recommendations of Planning and Environment Decisions Wales (PEDW).

“I have made it clear on the floor of the Senedd that I’m of the belief the proposal contradicts the spirit and aims of the Well-being of Future Generations Act and the Welsh Government’s own climate targets, and should be rejected.

“But since then, proposals for a concrete crushing plant on the same site have emerged.

“If the proposals were to go ahead, it is estimated that the traffic flow would be 1 lorry every 5 minutes, 10 hours per day, 5.5 days per week. Furthermore, in addition to very high levels of noise, the concrete crushing process uses substantial amounts of electricity and large amounts of water to dampen the harmful dust created by the process.

“Needless to say, as is true of the gas-fired plant, serious risks are posed to human health and well-being, and to the sustainability of the surrounding natural environment.

“I have now sought assurance by the Chief Executive of Cyngor Gwynedd that the second application will go before Gwynedd Council's Planning Committee, and won't be solely in the hands of planning officers. In that case my constituents will be able to make their views known to their local councillors who will be able to relay their concerns to committee members.”

Whilst the final decision on the gas plant’s fate rests with the Welsh Government, the application to install the concrete crushing plant will have to go to Gwynedd Council for a final decision. Local Plaid Cymru councillor Dewi Wyn Jones represents the Peblig ward which borders on the proposed site, and he has made his opposition clear.

“As a local councillor and Member of the Board of Governors for Ysgol yr Hendre which is a stone’s throw away from the proposed site, I have made clear my opposition to the proposals, based on the conclusive evidence that is available. 

“Local campaigners have made it clear that both developments must be opposed. The gas-fired plant and the concrete crusher might be presented as separate proposals, nevertheless the risks they pose to the health of local people and environment are one and the same.”

The Caernarfon Lân campaign has launched a petition where local people can voice their opposition. The petition can be found here, or by visiting the campaign website caernarfonlan.cymru.

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