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Special meeting agreed for controversial Hydrogen plant proposals near Bryncethin

A SPECIAL meeting of Bridgend Council’s planning committee has been agreed upon this month, to discuss controversial plans to build a new Hydrogen plant near the village of Bryncethin.

The project, which has been named the HyBont Green Hydrogen Project, could see a hydrogen-powered plant built by Japanese developers Marubeni on Brynmenyn industrial estate.

If given the go-ahead it would include a hydrogen production facility with electrolysers that generate hydrogen from electrical power by splitting water, along with a solar farm, hydrogen storage and hydrogen refuelling station on the land.

The hydrogen produced there would then be intended to supply transport users such as refuse collection vehicles, buses and light vehicles at the Brynmenyn refuelling station dispensers, as well as for heat for the Ynysawdre Cluster through a 1.2km underground pipe.

However, the planning application has been met with a serious backlash from local residents over the last year, who say the proposals are inappropriate due to safety fears around their proximity to the neighbouring residential areas, as well as a lack of clarity from within the plans.

It even led to a protest that saw dozens of people gather outside of the Bridgend Council offices on Angel Street before the council’s monthly full council meeting in June to make their voices heard about the issue.

In response the council have now agreed to a special planning meeting for the discussion of the application, which will see representatives each given ten minutes to speak on the proposals, as well as a site visit for local members before-hand.

The report read: “The Local Planning Authority are currently processing the above application and although, at this stage, there is no set date for when the application will be presented to the Development Control Committee, the scale of the development and the level of public objection would justify members considering the proposal at a Special Meeting of the Development Control Committee in line with the adopted Code of Practice.”

The idea was later approved unanimously by members in attendance, and while no date has yet been set for the meeting, officers indicated that it could still be held before the end of 2023.

They also noted that while they would still plan for this special meeting to go ahead in the coming months, there had been a request for the Welsh Government to call in the decision for the HyBont Green Hydrogen Project, which would take the power to reject or approve the application out of the local authorities hands.