Vinery owners hear neighbours' concerns

A HEATED discussion broke out when neighbours were invited to Whispers Vinery to take a look at the controversial wood burner on Saturday.

Residents are shown around Whispers Vinery on Saturday. (Picture by Anna Brehaut, 1291251)
Residents are shown around Whispers Vinery on Saturday. (Picture by Anna Brehaut, 1291251)

A HEATED discussion broke out when neighbours were invited to Whispers Vinery to take a look at the controversial wood burner on Saturday.

About 10 people, including Vazon residents and douzaine representatives, visited the site.

Some residents were pleased to see the effort vinery owner B. R. Langlois and Sons Ltd has been taking to comply with a new licence.

But Helen Litchfield, who lives opposite, was not satisfied and quizzed both Mark and Ian Langlois, who operate the business.

‘This really is a serious pollution hazard,’ she said.

Comments for: "Vinery owners hear neighbours' concerns "


Yes Helen lets put all the islands wood in Mont Cuet, ban all wood burning stoves and coal ones for that matter, and everybody can use electricity for heat, because no fossil fuels are used in the production of that...


If only everyone realised how bad the replaced boiler was for the environment, they would be patting these guys on the back. This now puts guernsey growing back on the map.


I'm sure the boiler manufacturers have to comply with many regulations when designing and building such a device and this will include emissions tests, if clean unpainted/untreated wood is being burnt I don't see a problem as I do this every day in the the winter months at my home and find it much cleaner than coal.


You are correct. The boiler plant, in this case, is designed to burn biomass wood chip - ("clean" by-products from wood working industries) not hazardous waste (from old pallets and construction demolition wood that will likely contain many chemicals such as preservatives etc). The wrong use of the plant is not the fault of the supplier.

No emission test results have been made publicly available for scrutiny.


...and no emission test results nor any other hard evidence were included in the licence application to demonstrate that the plant could be operated safely.


Cor damme how times have changed. One time all households and vineries (lots of vineries back then) used to burn ordinary coal which really was a pollutant. Gradually smokeless fuel came in (anthracite mostly, beans and peas) and then it was oil for vineries and gas and oil for households. This before all the real fuss about the atmosphere began.

It all started with London in the 1950's I suppose, wanting to get rid of their pea-souper fogs. They succeeded by banning all smokey fuels. In the words of one famous Prime Minister: "You never had it so good!"


The waste management licence issued for this plant is for the incineration of waste wood.

The company supplying this "fuel" have a waste management licence that does not control the content of the fuel, and was in response to an application that included 6 types of wood waste defined as "hazardous waste".

Describing this plant as a "wood burner" hides its real purpose in diverting contaminated wood from landfill - go and look at the licences and applications on the Public register.

The Director of Environmental Health has quite correctly imposed a licence condition that the waste incinerator must comply with the EU "Waste Incineration Directive" because the waste wood chip supplied may contain dangerous chemicals.

But the plant does not meet the requirements of that Directive.

2 examples:

1/ It has no wet scrubbers to restrict toxic gas emissions.

2/ The combustion chamber temperature licence condition specifies 800 degrees. The EU Directive requires 1100 degrees Celcius to effectively dispose of chemicals such as wood preservatives etc.

It is currently unsafe.

Let's hope the Director enforces all the licence conditions to make it safe.


Ask yourselves this. This plant ran without the ceramic filters for four and half months in the spring of 2011. Smoke and fumes belched out, we moaned and were repeatedly told that it was " operating to the appropriate standard." Then some testing was done and the plant was shut down on the 30th June 2011 until last week. We have been told that we may not know the results of that testing. If the results were clean, why shut the plant down? Why not make the results available to the great general public? Now they have put in ceramic filters, which take out the particulates that cause the smoke, but not the highly dangerous gases. It is still running very dangerously, right against all European guides etc. etc. This is not like chucking a few bits on your fire ( and I bet your chimney is higher than theirs, that was another little economy! ) This is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 49 weeks of the year. Would you really be happy to let your children/grandchildren live under this invisible, poisonous, cloud?

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aitchyengineer occurred to me that the putting into operation of a waste incinerator instead of a heating boiler might require Planning Permission and when I looked at this Ordinance (The Land Planning and Development (Environmental Impact Assessment) Ordinance, 2007) and in particular at


it says that such an EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) is required for:

“(a) a site for the disposal or processing of waste, including landfill sites, sites for the disposal of hazardous waste, for waste incineration or for the production of energy from waste, but, for the avoidance of doubt, excluding a small scale facility for the recycling or sorting of waste”

The Vazon Bay development seems to match most of these:

1/ It is a site for disposal of waste (that’s what the licence WML17 says)

2/ It is a site for the disposal of hazardous waste (this is waste defined as such and processed under WML15 from Island Waste who are the sole supplier of waste to Vazon Bay)

3/ It is a site for waste incineration (that’s what the licence WML17 says)

4/ It is a site which produces energy from waste (that’s what the Working Plan with licence WML17 says)

Therefore there may be up to 4 factors that dictate that an Environmental Risk Assessment is required for this development under Ordinance.

And yet – NO ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT SEEMS TO EXIST FOR THIS DEVELOPMENT which is in the middle of a residential area, near a beach beauty spot and is the very first privately operated waste incineration facility on the Island.

Had this EIA been carried out (as required by Law and Ordinance), closer examination of the potential pollutants and the necessary design of plant to deal with them safely, without adverse affect on the environment would have resulted in a safe operation.

Perhaps someone reading this who has an understanding of the Planning Permission rules could explain how this slipped through the net?



... and of course Planning permission may not have been granted at all!