2nd July 2020

Councillors united against local incinerator plans

At the recent Full Council meeting on 26th June, Town Councillors voted unanimously to oppose changes to the proposed Waste Incinerator at Westbury.  Despite previous objections by many Town and Parish councils in the local area, including Bradford on Avon Town Council, and an initial rejection by Wiltshire Council, the incinerator was approved on Appeal last year.

The Northacre plant, which provides a level of energy production through incineration of waste, was granted approval on the basis of the building specification and quantity of traffic, with the Appeals committee unable to consider the original lower levels of emissions.
The revised application, put forward by the owners of the site in a press-release in June, proposes to increase capacity of the site whilst downgrading the environmental standards, removing the ‘gasification’ stage, which Councillors fear will increase both emissions and heavy goods traffic in the

 area. The reasons cited by Northacre have included the economic viability of the plant, particularly in relation to Brexit.

It was agreed at the Full Council meeting that Chair of the Environment and Planning Committee and Deputy Mayor, Cllr Alex Kay should draft a letter to local MPs, the Permanent Undersecretary of State for DEFRA and the Leader of Wiltshire Council strongly opposing the changes.

The letter, (which can be viewed in full via the link at the end of this article) states:

“These proposed changes are counterproductive to the Government’s avowed reduction in carbon footprint, and detrimental to the immediate well-being of the residents across the entire area. They also run contrary to various court decisions which have cited the government for failing to have in place a lawful plan to improve air quality.
We consider this proposal to be directly damaging and impactful on our community, the region and the environment, and ask that it be withdrawn immediately.”

Leader of the Council, Dom Newton said:

“Councillors are clearly very concerned at this proposal, which seems to fly in the face of current thinking prioritising our environment and public health, particularly as we begin to try and recover from the far reaching impacts of COVID-19 in the wake of yet another emergency; that of rapidly increasing global temperatures caused in large part by carbon emissions.
While the changes may fit with the government’s recently downgraded national standards, they are incompatible with both our own and Wiltshire’s declared Climate Emergencies. We will continue to work with campaigners and other local town and parish councils on this very important issue.”

Further information:

Cllr Kay letter (2nd June 2020) re: Announced proposal to seek amendment of Planning Application 

Statement of intent from Northacre: https://northacre-energy.co.uk/

Planning and Appeal docs: https://unidoc.wiltshire.gov.uk/UniDoc/Document/Search/DSA,887341

BBC coverage: Westbury MP’s fears realised over waste incinerator bid

Bradford on Avon Town Council Climate Emergency Information

Wiltshire Council Climate Emergency Information