Posted: Sat 6th Apr 2024

Bridgend council sets date for crucial debate on Hybont hydrogen project

news.wales / newyddion.cymru

Bridgend Council members have agreed a date for what is expected to be a lengthy and complicated meeting to decide on the future of the controversial Hybont Hydrogen project.
The project could see a hydrogen powered plant built by developers Marubeni Europower Ltd on Brynmenyn industrial estate, if approved this year.
If given the go-ahead at a special meeting set for April 29, they would include a hydrogen production facility with electrolysers that generate hydrogen from electrical power, along with hydrogen storage, and a hydrogen refuelling station. It would also include a solar farm site nearby.
The plans have led to a major backlash from some residents, with protests held outside the council’s offices because of what they said was a lack of clarity, and safety concerns with the facility’s proximity to local housing in the village of Bryncethin.
It also comes just weeks after the authority approved a transfer of “surplus land” near Bryncethin to the Corporate Joint Committee of Cardiff Capital Region, who have shown interest in becoming a “key partner” to the project.
The scale of opposition to the proposals means the meeting will include a site visit by members, before they return to the council chambers in Bridgend to hear representations from councillors, officers, and members of the public- with expectations that there could be further protests held.
However, officers noted that the decision process itself could also have added complications, as it could still be called in by the Welsh Government, taking control out of the local authority’s hands altogether.
Members heard how ministers had issued a holding direction over the plans, which means as it stands, unless this direction is removed, Bridgend Council will only have powers to reject the plans but not to approve.
They added that even if the direction was removed in time for them to make a full decision at the meeting, it could still be over-ruled by Welsh Government ministers at a later date.
Cllr Simon Griffiths said he struggled to see the point of the meeting given the uncertain circumstances, and asked officers if it was right that they should hold it at this time.
Officers accepted that the process was not straight forward, and responded by saying that the meeting would still to go-ahead as members would still need to express what they would be minded to do with the complicated plans.
The meeting, which is the latest turn in a long running saga over the proposed facility, will now be held on April 29, with an accompanying paper requesting approvals for refurbishment works at Porthcawl’s popular Grand Pavilion. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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