Wiltshire Publications

Have your say over waste treatment plans

This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 10th, 2017 at 11:54 am.

ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners are encouraging the community to make their views heard on how the county deals with its waste.

The issue is particularly important in Westbury as there are plans to build a new waste treatment plant on the Northacre Industrial Park.

Wiltshire Council has produced a Wiltshire Waste Strategy Public Consultation, designed to help shape a ten-year strategy and is asking for comments by Tuesday 14th November.

A key issue for local people are the plans for a new waste treatment plant at Northacre which would burn most of Wiltshire’s domestic waste.

Planning permission was granted in September 2015 for the new incinerator (advanced thermal treatment facility), next to the Mechanical Biological Treatment Plant (MBT), on Northacre Industrial Park,  which currently treats Wiltshire’s non-recycled waste.

The treatment facility will allow Wiltshire to burn the waste directly and harness the energy for electricity.

When the plans were raised, Westbury Town Council opposed the building of the incinerator, but the plans were approved by Wiltshire Council.

Now, though, with Wiltshire Council holding a public consultation, environmental campaigners say local people must make their views heard.

Member of North Wiltshire Friends of the Earth, Stephen Eades, wants the Westbury community to use this opportunity to raise any objections they might have to the power plant  and any future plans.

Stephen Eades said, “It is important that the people of Westbury are aware of this incinerator, construction of which must commence by September of 2020 under the terms of the existing planning permission.  And equally important is that people are aware that this incinerator will be burning almost all of Wiltshire’s domestic waste (with possible commercial and industrial sourced material too) and will require a ‘waste emissions to atmosphere’ permit before it can become operational.

“However rather than await the construction of this incinerator before commenting, the people of Westbury may do so now by means of the Wiltshire Waste Strategy Public Consultation currently being run by the council until Tuesday 14th November. People can also send their comments to the associate director, waste and environment for Wiltshire Council, Tracy Carter.”

David Levy, former local resident and chairman of the campaign group, The Air That We Breathe Network said, “Westbury town centre already breaches international standards of car emissions from which we are in the European Court and here we are proposing to add to this tally. It is both irresponsible, I would caution illegal and most importantly will impact on the health of children and the elderly most of all. These fumes will kill via lung  and heart disease. All carcinogenic emissions come from burning plastics and RDF (refuse derived fuels) pelletised waste is made up of this.

“I no longer live in Westbury but share concerns that I know several others have. It is about time that this community was given a permanent respite from being continually poisoned by exhausts and chimneys.”

The planned power plant owned by Northacre Renewable Energy – a company owned by Hills Group – will be built on land between the Northacre Resource Recovery Centre and Arla Dairies on Stephenson Road, just over a mile from Westbury town centre. Its main chimney will stand at 60m (200 foot) tall – nearly half the size of the chimney at the old cement works.

The 22 megawatt power station is expected to operate 24 hours a day and will produce electricity via ‘gasification’; a process involving heating special fuels made from rubbish at temperatures up to 1,600ºC.

Any emissions from  the proposed gasification plant would have to comply with the requirements of the Industrial Emissions Directive before the plant could be issued with an environmental permit by the Environment Agency.

Northacre Renewable Energy Ltd has until 2020 to start building the incinerator. It has been suggested that work may begin next year.

The Government has put pressure on councils around the country to reduce the amount of waste which goes to landfill.

In their questionnaire, Wiltshire Council asks that if it was financially beneficial, would the council building an energy from waste plant within Wiltshire be something that people would agree with/disagree with.

A Wiltshire Council spokesperson says, “The council currently has no plans or planning permission in place to build an energy from waste plant anywhere in Wiltshire.”

The spokesperson added, “If results show [from the questionnaire] that building an energy from waste plant within Wiltshire is favoured by residents, this would inform any future work to see if this would be feasible, both in terms of Wiltshire’s infrastructure, technology availability and affordability.”

The consultation is open until 14 November and can be found at http://consult.wiltshire.gov.uk/portal/