An application for a gas-fired power plant on a former Caernarfon brickwork site has sparked concerns.

Seiont Ltd, linked to Ruthin-based Jones Bros, has submitted an application to build the power plant at the former Seiont Brickworks Quarry site at Bontnewydd.

Locals have expressed concerns about the scheme, with a possible plan for concrete crushing activity in the same area also sparking objections.

A consultation on the proposals ends on June 14, 2024.

The Caernarfon Lân group cited “community concerns” against the plans, including the impact on public health, wildlife, the environment, air pollution, noise, proximity to housing and a hospital, climate change and traffic issues.

Gretel Leeb, who chairs the group, said in a statement they felt the location of the site “should set alarm bells ringing” due to the topography, surrounding housing estates, a hospital, a local park and sports fields, the River Seiont and ancient natural woodland.

They are backed by Arfon MS Siân Gwenllian who said she could “not support the scheme”.

A community meeting was also held last November, where 58 people aired their views.

The scheme has also undergone a pre-application consultation with the Planning and Environment Decisions Wales [PEDW], Gwynedd Council and statutory consultees.

Equipment planned for the former brickworks at Caernarfon (Cyngor Gwynedd planning documents)

Equipment planned for the former brickworks at Caernarfon (Cyngor Gwynedd planning documents)

The application said: “The development will comprise of ten natural gas fuelled engines, and associated infrastructure, and would be used to sell power back to the National Grid.

“The generating sets, switchroom, distribution network operator building will all be within a fenced compound of approximately 3300 square metres.

“Twin cables will be laid in a single trench alongside an existing haul road to connect to an existing 33KV grid connection adjacent to the northern border of the quarry.”

The plans say Seiont Ltd is a company “with a local workforce who uses local contractors”.

Once operational, the proposal “would not require any permanent employees to operate, but the development is expected to result in temporary employments during the construction phase”.

The plans added: “Most of the works would be carried out by the around 10-12 staff members of the existing Jones Bros local workforce.”

Construction work would include preparing the site and hardstandings, cable trench which will be carried out by Jones Bros, the plans say.

The proposal claims: “The peaking plant will use gas from the existing mains supply that previously fed the brickworks, and will feed electricity into the Grid at an on-site connection.

“Peaking plants function to provide rapid response and balance demand, particularly when wind and solar outputs are low.

“In this way, they contribute to the wider adoption of non-fossil fuel electricity generation.”

Siân Gwnellian said she spoke on the floor of the Senedd to claim that the proposal “contradicted the spirit and aims of the Well-being of Future Generations Act and the Welsh Government’s climate targets, and should be rejected.”

Since then, proposals for concrete crushing had “emerged,” she said.

A scoping opinion was being sought by the same applicants from Cyngor Gwynedd.

The council recently concluded it was “likely the impact of the development on the environment” would require the submission of an Environmental Statement.

Back in 2008, 50 workers lost their jobs when Hanson closed the brickworks, ending almost 200 years of brick-making history in the town.

Jones Bros Ruthin Ltd had reopened the site in recent years and used it as a compound and concrete batching area for the Caernarfon bypass.

A Jones Bros Civil Engineering UK spokesperson previously said: “To maximise the switch to renewable electricity generation, the national grid requires back-up power when solar and wind outputs are low.

“Short-term operating reserve (STOR) plants using mains gas can be put into operation at a few minutes’ notice to provide this back-up, giving consumers the confidence that their energy needs will be met and encouraging them to choose electricity as their source.

“The project is classed as a ‘development of national significance’, as it can produce more than 10MW of energy, so under Welsh Government regulations, ministers will decide on the development rather than the local authority.”