This meeting was called by the Infrastrucure Planning Commission (IPC) which will decide the Covanta application. I was representing CPRW (responding to the concerns of members, having lodged an objection to the proposal). In Merthyr Leisure Centre hanger (ie very big sports hall), 250 people there, rigorous formalities & security (bouncers all over), stage with three Commissioners and advisers. Chairwoman very formal, warned against applause, explained programmed agenda, this Preliminary Meeting was only to go over the process of the Examination In Public (EIP), but then said Covanta wished to introduce an amendment to the planning application. This took some time, basically they wished to raise the building 3m. This introduced a substantial uncertainty – if the IPC decides this substantially changes the PA, they can say no, either continue with the existing PA or start again with a new one; or it can decide that it is not a substantial change, and continue with the original PA as modified. But they could not decide on the day. So how to proceed?
Then we had a fire alarm evacuation for 40 minutes!
Barrister for FoE and the Covanta Incinerator Objection Group had a field day with all this, demanding that the hearing be adjourned. The Chair declined, barrister protested that the Agenda was not now relevant, it was not possible to complete it, his clients who had taken time off work to make points inthe advertised morning sessions had to leave , etc – the Commission was not complying with its legal duties for a proper EIP. Local MP agreed, Council reps agreed. Covanta had been allowed to take over the meeting - all parties must be allowed time to consider the new proposal. More debate, Chair decided that she would go through the remainder of the Agenda, and decide within a few days how to deal with the difficulties encountered.

New points were then brought up, including from Caerphilly CB planner, who said that they questioned the deliverability of the proposal – it appears to depend on other operations that would require planning permission, not yet submitted. I got a few words in for CPRW, including that I hoped in the interests of democracy the views of the local community would be a major element in the IPC decision.

The meeting is correctly described as a farce in some Facebook comments. But I was impressed by the large attendance, and the fact that there is what at least appears to be a public procedure, before they take the big decision (no doubt behind closed doors)