T]HE company planning to build a new waste reception centre in Wrexham has had its knuckles rapped over a similar plant in South Wales.
The Environment Agency said the company 'had knowingly not complied with a condition of the permit' to run a pyrolysis and gasification plant in Neath Port Talbot.
Groups in Wrexham opposed to the Resource Recovery Centre, which will be located on the site of Owens-Corning, say HLC's application should be rejected in light of this.
Barbara Tate, leader of the Environment Agency's Process Industry Regulatory Team, said: 'Companies have a legal obligation to comply with the conditions of their Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) permit.
'In this case HLC Waste Management Services had knowingly not complied with a condition of the permit requiring the bio-filter at the site to be regularly sprayed with water.
'The Agency will not hesitate to prosecute companies when such permit conditions are breached.'
HLC was prosecuted and fined £6,000 with £4,000 costs on March 11 this year. The fine was reduced to £4,000, as HLC admitted the breach, which concerned them turning off the water to the bio-filter in the plant's composting area.
It was the culmination of a long investigation.
Following a fire at the plant in August 2003 investigators discovered the filter had not been watered.
'This was a crucial part of the composting operation as outlined in HLC's original application,' said Mrs Tate.
'The filter needed to be watered in order to work and the company knew this and turned its water off.'
According to the investigation, at the same time the water was turned off residents began to complain about smells coming from the plant.
'We understand the plant in Wrexham will be slightly different to Neath Port Talbot and these processes do reduce emissions,' said Mrs Tate.
'The Environment Agency supports any process which focuses on recycling and sorting waste because landfill as we know it will soon be illegal.
'But we will be carefully watching HLC to make sure they do not breach any of the conditions of operation which they are set should their application be accepted.'
A spokeswoman for HLC said: 'The company had at the time of the bio-filter incident been acting on the advice of the bio-filter unit supplier to try and resolve a moisture problem on the unit.
'The previous management team has now been replaced and the plant has re-opened following a fire in 2003.
'It is currently operating in accordance with all aspects of the PPC authorisation issued by the Environment Agency.
'HLC is in frequent contact with the Environment Agency, whose statutory responsibilities requires the regular monitoring of all plants with a PPC permit.
'A community liaison group meets regularly to discuss issues of local interest and is attended by a representative from the Environment Agency.'