HIA of an integrated wood processing plant in Newbridge
United Kingdom - 2000
The National Assembly for Wales encourages local authorities, health authorities and others to explore the usefulness of HIA for decision making. In 2000, Powys County Council and Dyfed Powys Health Authority ordered the HIA of an important project, which appeared to have both positive and negative health impacts: the refurbishment of an existing sawmill, the construction of a wood fuel processing and electricity generation plant, and the building of an access road.
The intention was to create a plant able to produce a range of products including sawn timber, wood fuel and other co-products. Wood fuel generated by the timber processing activities together with wood from processing centres elsewhere would be used to fuel an 18MW electricity generation unit. Timber and co-products were to be delivered to the site by road, causing the number of HGV (heavy goods vehicle) movements to increase from 130 to 320 per day.
The HIA was requested at a stage when the planning process was already under way, therefore the entire assessment process had to be completed in less than ten weeks. After going through the main health issues in the population (from respiratory illness to the consequences of unemployment), the HIA suggests ways in which positive impacts can be enhanced and negative impacts mitigated, whether the project is approved or not.
If the project were to receive the go-ahead, the HIA suggests that the Environment Agency should closely monitor its operations, and that the possibility of using the neighbouring railway line for transport should be continually reviewed, and adopted as soon as it became financially viable. In case of refusal of the project, the HIA underlines the importance of finding other sources of employment for the local population.
- Access to the document via the HIA Gateway
Conflict over biomass energy development: observations and lessons from England and Wales
John Kemm - john.kemm[at]doh.gsi.gov.uk
Owner contact details
Welsh Combined Centres for Public Health
Ffynnon Las, Ty Glas Avenue
Llanishen, Cardiff CF4 5EZ