Egnedol Ltd, a company aiming to invest over £685m, create up to 450 jobs in the area, and which was aiming to be producing energy by the start of 2017, has received notification that their planning application is ‘invalid’. This is anticipated to push the planning application back to November 2017, Radio Pembrokeshire can confirm.
The application was submitted earlier in 2016 and included a number of facilities to be set up on the former RNAD and Gulf Oil Refinery site at Blackbridge, near Milford Haven. In March of this year, it was reported that due to an extended consultation process and changes in legislation, the application was to be submitted to the Welsh Government instead of Pembrokeshire County. The council told Radio Pembrokeshire on the 7th of September, that it had been notified of the following:
“that the application submitted by Egnedol Ltd to the Planning Inspectorate for the construction of a 49.9 MW Biomass to Energy Facility: a new grid connection; refurbishment of the existing jetty; a facility for the advanced conversion of carbon to aviation fuel; an aquaculture facility, including a fish farm and a prawn farm; algae production units; a cheese production unit; greenhouses; a facility for the preparation and sale of farm produce; and research and development facilities, at the former RNAD Blackbridge site is an invalid application.”
In a letter sent from The Planning Inspectorate to the Director of Egnedol Limited, Mr Steve Whitehouse, which Radio Pembrokeshire has seen, the inspector refers to the application as ‘invalid in its present form’.
The inspector, Clive Nield, states that the Environmental Statement (ES) ‘does not meet the minimum requirements of the Town & Country Planning Regulations 2016’ and that ‘significant shortcomings’ had been identified. He goes on to suggest that Egnedol Ltd should carry out further consultation following a comprehensive review of the submitted documentation.
Some of the shortfalls identified within the assessment of the ES for the site include a lack of detail in some of the description of the proposed development, no plan of the proposed 60 metre tall flue stack, and more explanation being required around the proposed algae production units. There is also concern over the amount of bat survey work carried out.
COMPANY REMAINS COMMITTED
In his overall conclusion of the ES, Mr Nield notes that the further information needed to address the shortcomings identified include:
- The results of further survey work on bats taken through to the end of the 2016 active bat season, i.e. October 2016.
- Review of the likely significant effects on bats in the light of the full set of survey data collected.
- Review of the proposed prevention and mitigation measures in the light of the full set of survey data collected.
- Further explanation of the proposed algae production units, particularly the technology involved and the scale of operations.
- Further details of the proposed 60 metres tall flue stack, including a plan.
- Updated version of the Non-Technical Summary to reflect the further evidence provided, as above.
In a statement to Radio Pembrokeshire, received following the date of the assessment, a spokesperson for Egnedol said:
“We remain 100% committed to our proposals for Blackbridge and Waterston in Milford Haven and are currently in the final stages of completing the Environmental Impact Assessment required by the Welsh Government’s Planning Inspectorate. We anticipate being able to submit our application to the Inspectorate by mid-November.”
The company had previously said that they’d hoped for the firm to be producing energy by 2017.
THE EGNEDOL STORY SO FAR
After the announcement was made in late 2015 that Egnedol Ltd were planning to come to the county, many questions were asked by locals about the company’s history and future plans. At the time, Radio Pembrokeshire’s Ollie Cole spoke with Phil Johns, an Egnedol representative, who said that the company had had some ‘very constructive discussion with the local authority’ and that Egnedol Wales had been set up as a branch of a company ‘working elsewhere in Europe’.
Mr Johns was also asked about past European projects that the main company had been involved in, including criticism they’d received from some Cyprus officials. He said in the interview that he couldn’t give any detail on Egnedol’s work overseas, and failed to shed any light on the company’s previous European operations. In 2014, Egnedol Ltd were cited by the Cyprus Mail to have approached government officials in Cyprus during a tender process. It was reported that the country’s Interior Minister had referred to the company as presenting ‘hot air’.
You can hear the full interview between Phil Johns and Ollie Cole from September 2015, here:
In a follow up interview with Radio Pembrokeshire’s Jim Hughes in January, Phil Johns spoke about the financing and backing of the Egnedol Wales project, coming from ‘high net-worth individuals in the Gulf State’ and from Cyprus and the Middle East. You can also hear this full interview, below: