In response to a letter published in several newspapers local to Aberthaw coal fired power station, we have written RWE an open letter. You can read the original letter here.
28th February 2017
Thank you for your response to our concerns around the health impacts of Aberthaw power station. We share with you how difficult it is to read reports of health-related illnesses and deaths linked to your operations. To have to ask yourself if Aberthaw causes more harm than good must be uncomfortable.
We see you have limited choices and think you must defend your company and actions. We acknowledge the role that Aberthaw has played in the local community in terms of job creation and in providing electricity. That is significant.
However, for us, it is important that the local community has a comprehensive and undistorted view of the plant’s impacts in order to be able to know at what cost this contribution has come.
Aberthaw has been producing NOx, SOx and particulates since it started operating. There are no safe level for these chemicals. Legal limits are put in place to curb the worse of this pollution, not for spurious reasons, but to protect human health. The European Court of Justice recently ruled that Aberthaw has been emitting NOx pollution well above these legal limits. Aberthaw has been in breach of EU limits for over eight years.
Your stated boiler upgrades will barely bring the plant under the reduced-hours, extended limit for NOx, and you have already shunned the fitting of the Best Available Technology, SCR, that would substantialy reduce the NOx pollution. Aberthaw will still be emitting a significant level of NOx after your improvements.
This pollution enters our lungs and blood and have been linked to stroke, lung cancer, heart and respiratory diseases.
Friends of the Earth estimate that 400 people a year die from Aberthaw’s NO2 pollution. For us it is important, even though an estimate, to name how many people are dying because every life matters.
Even with reduced operating hours and the subsequent reduction in emission levels, there will still be health impacts. However you quantify these, Aberthaw power station will still be directly responsible for ill health and premature death for as long as it operates.
How many deaths and how much illness is an acceptable level of collateral damage to allow this ancient, inefficient power station to continue to generate electricity?
We invite you to take the other choice, the braver choice: act to protect peoples health and the climate, ensure a Just transition for your workers, close Aberthaw and restore the site, as envisaged when it was built as a short term project.
Coal Action Network
United Valleys Action Group
Reclaim the Power