A WELSH Government minister will have the final decision over whether a city incinerator is given planning permission – despite an inquiry into the issue being held in the summer.

On July 9 an eight-day inquiry by the Planning Inspectorate will begin into an appeal by Veolia over Newport council planning committee’s refusal for permission for a waste burner at the Llanwern Steelworks site.

However Prosiect Gwyrdd, the consortium offering the waste contract Veolia is bidding for, is set to announce its preferred bidder months before that, in February.

The Welsh environment minister and Newport East AM John Griffiths cannot decide on the appeal as the site is in his constituency.

A Welsh Government spokeswoman said Welsh ministers decided that, as the proposal is a major development that could have an impact beyond the constutuency area, the appeal should be determined by a minister rather than an inspector.

Mr Griffiths would have been an appropriate choice if the development site was outside Newport East, she said.

However as it is within his constituency, Mr Griffiths is prevented under the ministerial code from making the decision.

It is not yet known who will make the decision or when it will be.

The inquiry, to be held at Newport Civic Centre, is scheduled to last eight days – but may be shorter or could be extended.

A spokesman for Prosiect Gwyrdd – a consortium of South Wales councils from which two firms including Veolia are bidding for a contract to handle non-recyclable waste – said a preferred bidder is set to be announced in February.

The other bidder is Viridor, which has already started building its incinerator in Cardiff.