Planning Breach at Viridor incinerator, South Wales Echo 29th Dec. 

Cardiff Council has known Viridor is in breach of planning law (Echo 27 December), ever since they started piling for foundations on 20th July.

Despite publicly promising “strong and appropriate” measures to enforce the law, Council officers sought to agree Viridor's proposals for meeting strict “pre-commencement” planning conditions.

Officer notes of a private meeting with Viridor on 19th July showed no action while they published Viridor's proposals,n which they then withdrew from the 15th August Committee in the face of strong objections from Cardiff Against the Incinerator and others.

The Council then paid for legal and technical advice, which accepted much of the objections. They have kept secret notes of a second private meeting with Viridor on 30 October, but their resulting letter of 2 Nov. said the development was at the company's risk and could be subject to enforcement action.

Yet the officers in practice delayed action and proceeded to publish incomplete answers from Viridor in December. Viridor admitted the site does have a flood risk. This has not been planned for, despite waste incineration being classed as vulnerable by government, so should be sited elsewhere.

Second, Viridor refused to answer that their incinerator ash would be hazardous waste, which could not be processed on site (and thousands of tonnes stockpiled). Viridor had falsely claimed their incinerator ash to be “inert”, which the technical advisors Atkins say is wrong.

Thus the documents on file show the Council leant over backwards to meet Viridor's proposals, but cannot within the law. They are now obliged to concede CATI's demand from July, backed by the top environmental law firm Richard Buxton, and stop Viridor's unlawful construction.

This vindicates politicians who have who have declared the Splott site is the wrong place for a waste incinerator, a few hundred metres from new residential blocks in Cardiff Bay and Splott and even closer to the new Ocean Way office developments including the Western Mail and Echo's.