Wiltshire Publications

Work begins on waste treatment plant but campaigners now fight environmental permit

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WESTBURY Gasification Action Group claim ‘it’s not over yet,’ despite Northacre Renewable Energy beginning preparation works for the building of their waste treatment plant in Westbury.

Limited exploratory and preparation works have begun on site for the advanced thermal treatment (ATT) facility and will continue over the coming weeks. Construction of the facility is then expected to begin later in the autumn. 

Westbury Gasification Action Group say, “We asked the Secretary of State to call in the decision for review, but were notified in June that he did not have grounds to do that.

“However, some of the grounds we submitted did prove to be valid as Wiltshire Council were required to add four new conditions to their approval.  The question is will Wiltshire Council monitor that all conditions are met when  they have hitherto done all they can to facilitate NRE’s incinerator proposals (with the exception of a few more enlightened councillors)?

“The upshot is that very sadly for Westbury and beyond, the third version of the ATT can be built. But in order to start burning waste, it will need to meet the Environment Agency’s requirements to be granted an operating permit. 

“Because this is a high profile/controversial project, the Environment Agency will publicise any public meetings they hold, and let people know how they can make relevant submissions. So the news isn’t good, but it’s not over yet.

“If built, it will be a slightly ‘improved’ plan than it would have been if we hadn’t opposed it.  There will at least be some mitigation of the terrible impact on the landscape through design changes, which the company were not otherwise going to bother with.

“Of course this makes no difference to the climate catastrophe to which this plant will contribute.  Nor the lungs of everyone living within the 15 kilometre plume grounding zone.  Nor those who will suffer the effects of the extra 15,100 truck movements a year.  

“We have to take the opportunity to fight on at the next stage.  The Environment Agency will be looking a range of technical aspects including what toxins will be emitted by the 75 metre chimney stack and exactly how this company aims to operate the plant.  Technical information will need to be scrutinised in order to put in relevant submissions.  

“We aim to share information about the Environment Agency process and if you can get more involved or contribute to essential fundraising for expert help, please email us on westburygag@gmail.com.”

A spokesperson for Northacre Renewable Energy said, “The ATT facility at Northacre will provide a sustainable long-term solution for waste in Wiltshire by turning waste that cannot be recycled into enough renewable energy to power 46,000 homes, contribute to improved energy infrastructure locally and provide sizeable economic benefits.

“We are committed to working closely with local authorities, stakeholders and local communities to ensure that we deliver on the commitments made during the planning process, and to undertake construction as considerately as possible when works formally begin later this year.”

Northacre has also confirmed that the appeal submitted in November 2018 to the planning inspectorate for the ATT plant, which was refused in July 2018, has been withdrawn. 

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