Memorandum submitted by Allan G Norman (AQ09)


Air Quality Inquiry


1. I would wish to draw to the Committee's attention the view of many people in Port Talbot (the most polluted town in Wales) that there is no truly independent body that will present the truth about air quality to the people.


2. The recent example of the granting of a licence to Prenergy for a large woodchip power station in the town shows quite clearly that the Environment Agency sees one of its primary responsibilities under the Environment Protection Act 1995 as "to make a contribution towards attaining the objectives of achieving sustainable development" as determined by ministers, even when the ministers are obviously wrong. It has accepted dubious computer modelling data and set spurious limitations on the pollution arising from the new plant that it knows cannot be achieved by the company in the knowledge that the source of the PM10s or PAHs cannot be proven. Therefore, no action will be taken against the company even if the pollution in the town exceeds even more the guidelines set by Europe and the UK government. There is a complete lack of trust in the Environment Agency.


3. Fear of the potential loss of jobs should too much pressure be put on Corus regarding air pollution means also that the local council and the Welsh Assembly do all in their power to obfuscate the true state of air pollution in the town.


4. The people of Port Talbot do not appreciate being treated like children. It is quite possible that the town will shortly be the site of some 7 power stations - 3 biomass & 2 Gas stations in the town and a further 2 within the Corus site. No right-minded person would accept that this is appropriate for such a small area which includes the M4 and the affects of sea spray. The air quality will inevitably deteriorate even further. The people of Port Talbot feel helpless. Their health and that of their children is at severe risk.


10 December 2009