A WELSH minister has called for an environmental watchdog to show how effectively they used legislation in allowing a waste plant in Caerphilly county borough to go ahead.

Sophie Howe, future generations commissioner for Wales, has written to Natural Resources Wales regarding the handling of the Hazrem facility in Nine Mile Point Industrial Estate, Cwmfelinfach.

NRW generated controversy amongst residents, councillors, AMs, and MPs when they withdrew an earlier objection against the plant following an appeal by Hazrem Environmental.

The application for an environmental permit was later approved by a government inspector following a public inquiry.

Ms Howe said that NRW’s approach to permitting decisions has “emerged as a common thread” amongst concerns raised regarding the Hazrem plant, as well as the Barry Biomass Scheme.

Now the commissioner has pledged to monitor such complaints in order to find signs of “wider systemic issues” of how public bodies are applying the Well-being Future Generations Act.

“Over the last few months I have been contacted by a number of people who have expressed concern about a range of developments across Wales,” said Ms Howe.

“As the Future Generations Commissioner I am keen to ensure that the Act is embedded in the work of public bodies and in particular, that the process that is followed by Natural Resources Wales in respect of their whole approach to environmental permitting and licensing is consistent with the Act.

“I have therefore formally requested further information from Natural Resources Wales including worked examples of how the Act has been applied alongside the requirements of other legislation. “

Ms Howe has already met with NRW chair Diane McCrea, who has committed to ongoing talks on the matters raised.

"Our decision documents set out how we reach our conclusions, which involves extensive public consultation including with external bodies. This is all publicly available,” said Ms McCrea.

"We are happy to consider further how we apply the Wales legislation to our permitting processes and would welcome the Commissioner’s advice and guidance in doing this.

“As permitting regulations are derived from EU law, we have asked Welsh Government to be part of that discussion as they are the legislator in Wales.”