Wiltshire Publications

“Waste plant may kill people but there is nothing we can do about this in planning terms”

This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 28th, 2018 at 12:26 pm.

CAMPAIGNERS are questioning Wiltshire Council’s reasons for refusing Northacre’s recent application for an Advanced Thermal Treatment plant and say the plans should have been vigorously opposed on environmental grounds.

The group has written to Wiltshire Council to challenge its interpretation of planning law. “In short, the officers of the council were saying ‘we know the use of the site may kill people, but there is nothing we can do about this in planning terms,” said Stephen Eades, who represents Wiltshire and North Wiltshire Friends of the Earth.

The group is challenging why Wiltshire Council did not take into account environmental and safety issues in its objection to the plant. Stephen Eades says by not including these issues, Wiltshire Council’s objection is not legal.

Wiltshire Council refused planning for the gasification plant on the grounds of its height, bulk and location on rising ground on the edge of the built-up area. The decision was made at the council’s strategic planning meeting, held  on Wednesday 18th July. 

Stephen Eades said, “Despite a majority of members on the planning committee echoing the environmental concern of the public in their own assessment of the application, the officers of the council repeatedly informed the committee that “environmental and safety issues” are not planning issues, and therefore not valid ground for refusing planning consent.

In response to one of the letters, Wiltshire Council’s director of economic development and planning said, “I am satisfied that the advice offered by Mr Wilmott (during the strategic planning meeting) was correct; valid; and in full accord with good practice. I am satisfied that the proposal does not conflict with the planning policies that you have cited.”

The council has now advised Stephen Eades, and other campaigners that if they wish to disagree with the council’s advice, then they are welcome to consider a legal challenge or wait to see if an appeal is lodged, where they can make a case to the planning inspector relating to environmental and safety issues.  

Hills Waste Ltd, Northacre Renewable Energy, now have six months from 18th July to decide whether to appeal against the decision, which involves their new contractor (Bioenergy Infrastructure). Alternatively, the company can seek to activate their existing 2015 consent for an ATT gasification plant involving an incinerator design by a contractor [Chinook] with whom Hills are no longer in co-operation.

 Margaret Cavanna of Westbury Gasification Action Group (WGAG) said, “WGAG will continue in their opposition and are looking at developments that will make the construction of new incinerators even less desirable than at present; the possible introduction of an incineration tax in the autumn budget, which is under discussion.  And a recent report from UKWIN (United Kingdom Without Incineration Network) calling for stricter controls of particle emissions from incinerators, given the view that operators may be under-reporting these.  It calls for a moratorium on new incinerator capacity.

“Some members are also looking at Wiltshire Council’s new waste strategy, as it appears to lack clear targets and incentives to reduce waste.  The group can be contacted via westburygag@gmail.com.”

In response, Northacre Renewable Energy told White Horse News, “Northacre Renewable Energy has existing planning permission for the development of an advanced thermal treatment facility and stakeholders in the project are assessing all possible next steps before making a final decision on the best way to proceed.”


One Response to “Waste plant may kill people but there is nothing we can do about this in planning terms”

  1. David Davis

    August 29, 2018 at 11:08 am

    Wiltshire Council have shown a total disregard for the Health and wellbeing of population of Westbury They have ignored the democratic decision not to grant planning permission by attempting to challenge this result by using council rules that go against the rule of law.
    They have used the size of the site as a reason for rejection and not the real reason a Duty of Care
    If the vote had gone in their favour the public would have had no means of appeal only via the law courts that is very expensive
    This is a national disgrace

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