Wiltshire Publications

Anti-waste plant campaigners say company using ‘bombardment’ to get plans through

This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 4th, 2018 at 11:10 am.

MULTIPLE applications have now been made by  Northacre Renewable Energy (NRE), part of Hills Waste Ltd,  to build an advanced thermal treatment (ATT) plant in Westbury. 

But it has brought complaints from campaigners who feel that Northacre is taking a ‘bombardment approach’ to get the plans through, and they say that the fight to oppose the waste plant goes on.

The company currently has one application granted and two applications pending  a decision. 

Planning permission was granted to the company in 2015 by Wiltshire Council to build the plant, but Hills say they wish to ‘deliver a better facility’ with new and improved technology rather than begin the build. A second application was then submitted in 2018 to make amendments to their existing plans, including a taller chimney. This was refused by Wiltshire Council in July due to the size and bulk of the building.

After the refusal of this application, Hills submitted a further revision to their 2015 application in October, claiming a ‘new and improved application.’ NRE now announce that they have also launched an appeal against their refused application in July. Decisions for both the appeal and the resubmission are due in January. 

Members of Westbury Gasification Action Group state they are ‘saddened yet unsurprised’ that news of an appeal has surfaced. 

Dan Gmaj, a member of the group said, “With three ‘live applications’ now on the table I am particularly saddened at this ‘bombardment’ approach for the many who have gone out of their way to make researched and extensive comments and objection to our town becoming the ‘waste capital’ of the South West!”

Mike Hill, chief executive of The Hills Group, said, “The decision by Northacre Renewable Energy (NRE) to appeal the planning refusal in July 2018 by Wiltshire’s Strategic Planning Committee to the Planning Inspectorate, as well as submit a revised planning application to Wiltshire Council, has been taken in order to deliver the best possible solution for residual waste in Wiltshire.

“NRE feels passionately about the merits of the project for the local environment and the local economy. This appeal process ensures all avenues are kept open to achieving a state-of-the-art and sustainable advanced thermal treatment facility to manage waste that cannot be recycled, which would otherwise be landfilled or transferred by road across Wiltshire, the UK and to Europe.

“While we already have planning permission on the site, granted in 2015, there have been subsequent developments in technology and best practice that enhance the efficiency and economics of the scheme and encouraged us to submit an improved planning application. 

“These proposals for NRE represent an improvement on our existing planning permission and we believe are in the interests of the local community, the environment, local authorities and local businesses.”

Hills say that new research, carried out at the Small Area Health Statistic Unit and King’s College London, funded by Public Health England, shows “no evidence that exposure to PM10 from, or living near an Municipal Waste Incinerator (MWI) operating to current EU standards was associated with harm for any of the outcomes investigated.”

However Westbury Gasification Action Group say they will keep fighting any plans for a waste treatment plant in the town. Member of the group, Margaret Cavanna said, “We now ask that those who want to stop the ATT to write to the Planning Inspectorate by the strict deadline of 7th January. 

“If you sent an objection to plan two refused in July, there is no need to re-send it.  But you do need to send a representation as follows:  Give name and address (say if you don’t want them made public), state Planning Inspectorate Reference 3215579, and site address Northacre Renewable Energy, Stephenson Road, Westbury, Wiltshire BA13 4WD.

“Guidelines suggest you say ‘I am against the appeal proposals’ and state whether it is for the same reasons as Wiltshire Council (i.e. the scale and negative visual impact of the buildings), or, if not, explain your own reasons.  

“Giving local knowledge is important as the inspector will only have this from us e.g. what impact would the scale and dominance of the buildings have on your family and local businesses?  What is your experience of road pollution and congestion at the moment, and how would more HGVs affect you and the area?

“There are three ways to input:  Email tim.salter@pins.gsi.gov.uk, send online on www.gov.uk/appeal-planning-inspectorate  searching reference 3215579.  Or write in black, ideally with three copies, to:  Planning Inspectorate, Room 3/10b, Kite Way, 2 The Square, Temple Quay House, Bristol BS1 6PN.  

“Those who did not send objections previously for the July plan, should now write to the Inspector as outlined above.”

Dan Gmaj continued, “The fight continues so please contact westburygag@gmail.com or get involved on our facebook page if you want to keep informed.”

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