Wiltshire Publications

Press release from Rt Hon Andrew Murrison MP

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Dr Andrew Murrison MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for International Strategy.

MP Andrew Murrison has just been told by Bio Energy and Infrastructure Group, co-owner of the Westbury gasification plant, of the intention by it and Hills Waste to change the permissions for the plant to conventional incineration and to significantly increase capacity. 

Dr. Murrison said;

“This is completely unacceptable. The quasi-green gasification figleaf has been whipped away and now we are left with the prospect of a fully fledged conventional incinerator on our doorstep.

“This morning I’ve been fed a load of old nonsense by Bio Energy about supply chains and Brexit uncertainty but its actual motivation is clear – increased capacity which has been one of my fears all along. That presumably means more emissions, more heavy traffic through Westbury and the burning of waste rather than reducing and recycling it.

“If the current health crisis has had any benefits, it’s been the chance to imagine a greener, cleaner future. That’s incompatible with this proposal. I have already raised the Bio Energy proposal with the Leader of Wiltshire Council and I urge everyone to join me in resisting it.

24 Responses to Press release from Rt Hon Andrew Murrison MP

  1. Mrs M Park

    June 19, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    What can we do, we just can’t sit and watch this happen.

  2. Linda Young

    June 19, 2020 at 1:50 pm

    This should NOT happen! It could seriously affect the health of those who live in Westbury and the surrounding area.

  3. Mary Kneen

    June 19, 2020 at 2:15 pm

    The traffic through Westbury is bad enough as it is . We don’t need an increase. We certainly don’t need air pollution either

  4. Philip Harcourt

    June 19, 2020 at 2:25 pm

    Dear Andrew,

    Please can you oppose this with all the resources available to you. I trust that you will be lobbying the Secretary of State and Ministers to ensure that any attempt to amend the planning is refused or called in. I commit to providing whatever support you may require.

    As you say, this was one of the fears all along. The failure to supply details of the process to be used and the vagueness of the application in other areas has now brought home to roost the abject failure by Wiltshire Council to scrutinise and properly consider the applications and their effects on the constituents. The advice by officers to Planning Committee members, that they could not consider issues relating to health have, in part, encouraged this back door approach. I genuinely do not believe that Wiltshire Council is the appropriate authority to determine any further application. As the Chair stated at the meeting last year, the incinerator is important to Wiltshire as it will be processing its waste, and if it didn’t proceed it would cost the Council a lot of money. As far as I can see, this is a blatant conflict of interest.

    We listened to all the arguments about how this incinerator was different because it was a gasification plant; how it was green because it was really about generating energy; about how they would definitely limit the quantities of feedstock and traffic. At the time we feared that this was all simply “greenwash” and now the truth has come out. I cannot believe that these revised proposals have not come out without prior consultation having been had with Wiltshire Council, and they have been encouraged because, frankly, Wiltshire Council need the money irrespective of what their constituents want. “Wiltshire Council – Where everybody matters, but nobody cares”. If Council again try to push any application through without consideration of health effects, they should all be taken to The Hague and tried for crimes against humanity.

    We are facing a world backlash against incineration and all the science argues against it. Your Government is purportedly “following the science” on Covid-19, but no doubt that is the excuse the Tory Council will give us here. The cynic in me sees a confabulation in the reference to Brexit uncertainties. What they really mean is that once we leave the EU they will be able to get around EU rules that would otherwise preclude it. How can a Company still call itself “Bio Energy” when it proposes such a change.

    Again I pledge my full support to your efforts, and urge all right minded residents of Wiltshire and Mendip to join me in the fight. As a start I propose that people should immediately begin a boycott of all Hills’ businesses – construction, housing, aggregates, building products and the like.

  5. Pat Harper

    June 19, 2020 at 2:47 pm

    This really cannot be allowed to go ahead. Westbury seems to be the waste Capitol of Wiltshire. Air quality is bad enough already with the A350 running right through the heart of the town – so what’s a bit more pollution seems to be the general consensus of the councils. It’s not on their doorstep – so they’re not bothered!

  6. Alan Rogers

    June 19, 2020 at 2:50 pm

    People of Westbury campaigned against the burning of chemical waste at the concrete works. Eventually that got shut down, for other reasons, now this lot wants to start burning waste again.

  7. david levy TATWBN

    June 19, 2020 at 3:18 pm

    Hills and Wiltshire County Council.
    Get your knee of our airway.
    Or take the consequences
    This town and area are not going to take this.

  8. David L Davis

    June 19, 2020 at 3:34 pm

    I am sorry to say we have Wiltshire Council that will comply with anything the Hill,s Group wishes because they are in partnership and money overrules the democratic process On the 18th July 2018 the public won the debate to reject this plant However Wiltshire Council changed the
    PLANNING reason its LOCATION to an environmental one an EA PERMIT This allowed them to manipulate this decision and grant the contractor planning permission in 2019 Their maladministration is a National Disgrace They appear to accountable to no one especially the people they are there to serve Even the Ministry of Communications Housing and Local Government have refused to investigate their actions
    We are supposed to be a democratic society however when you witness what has occurred it brings it into question

  9. john whitcombe

    June 19, 2020 at 3:59 pm

    Dear Andrew,
    When the apcm works ceased a sigh of relief that the dust that came across Westbury from the Chimney, is now looking very much that something similar can return, PLEASE do your best to call this in, it looks to me as another ‘stitchup’ by Wiltshire Council ? “Where people Natter” and nothing gets changed.

  10. Barbara Johnson

    June 19, 2020 at 4:20 pm

    Dear Andrew,

    I have long objected to this project on so many levels.

    Please advise the best course of action now, how can we make our voices heard and stop this monstrosity?

    The HGV traffic through Southwick and North Bradley, near Trowbridge is already more than we can accommodate and is destroying our roads, Any extra traffic through Westbury first has to come through our villages.

  11. Stephen Eades, Wiltshire Friends of the Earth

    June 19, 2020 at 4:36 pm

    From the response of White Horse News readers which I have read, the cry is ‘What can be done?’ and ‘How do we stop this?’ To respond, engaging within the democratic process is important. This means that Westbury residents, with support from people further afield, must establish a local community group to challenge this proposal and make it known to every elected Wiltshire Councillor that this time, when the proposal comes before the Council for planning consent, the answer is NO – repeat NO! The way for this proposal to meet its nemesis is for the democratic process – the ordinary person’s beliefs and concerns – to win. Speak and write to your elected representatives on Wiltshire and Westbury Town Councils and tell them where you see their duty to be – to say NO. Their email and postal addresses are on the Wiltshire and Town Council websites.

  12. peter kent

    June 19, 2020 at 5:06 pm

    lots of people have copd and other breathing related illneses so burning rubbish is like having a bonfire which will kill people off I thought we were trying to stop people dying

  13. Dorothy Fox

    June 19, 2020 at 5:24 pm

    It is an absolute disgrace that the council with a vested interest is able to allow this project to go ahead with no regard for the welfare of the local population. Pollution is already above an acceptable level yet we are expected to tolerate even higher levels. Surely on health grounds alone this should not be allowed to go ahead.

  14. Bradley

    June 19, 2020 at 5:27 pm

    If we could legislate on the abolition of single use plastics then this will help solve the problem at the source. Pull the rug out from underneath BioEnergy.

    What Murrison is doing is following a “Not in my backyard!” approach instead of doing the thing which he is more capable of doing than any of us, and that is legislate.

  15. Edith Bass

    June 19, 2020 at 5:45 pm

    This is totally unacceptable and we as a town need to fight it. Once again Westbury being dumped on. Wiltshire Council is a disgrace and has never fairly supported Westbury and this is a prime example.

  16. Peter Watkins

    June 19, 2020 at 6:37 pm

    I personally feel this must not be allowed to happen more for health reasons to the people of Westbury. I am Asthmatic myself and I find it difficult at times to breath. Why should Westbury always be the town to put up with ideas like this and more so why do the council not stop it happening. People who allow this to go ahead need to wake up.

  17. Ellen Nicholson

    June 19, 2020 at 6:57 pm

    Delighted to see Andrew Murrison is also against this proposed change.

    Let me know what/where I can help. The A350 through Westbury really can’t cope with increased heavy traffic and emissions. There needs to be more recycling rather than burning.

  18. Lorrae Allford

    June 19, 2020 at 7:15 pm

    Please, please fight this Dr Murrison. The health of all the young families + the older community that have moved to Westbury to enjoy retirement is at risk if this is allowed to go ahead. Westbury barely copes with the traffic that it has to deal with now, this would be a nightmare!!

  19. Margaret Cavanna

    June 19, 2020 at 9:03 pm

    This is truly terrible news. Westbury Gasification Action Group (WGAG) has been working for two and a half years to stop this abomination which would pose public health risks and tower over the town, blighting the landscape for miles around.

    This is the fourth planning application from NRE since 2014 and it hasn’t been built yet. With everyone on board to fight it we can make sure it doesn’t become a reality this time either.

    Increasing the amount of waste from the 160,000 tonnes per annum originally stated would have big implications. As would use of a different technology to previous proposals. We’ll need to see the detail to scrutinise it and put together effective objections based on the facts. Plus lobbying, press campaign etc.

    See the group on facebook and email us at westburygag@gmail if you’d like to be added. Lots of comments on fb in the last few hours!

  20. Shane Thomson

    June 20, 2020 at 8:57 am

    Wiltshire county council have no regard for the people they serve or for the environment , in Warminster earlier this year they took down a vast number of trees by the council yard that had nesting rooks that had been there for years . Also allowed a bio digester at Crockerton round about 100,s of yards from the edge of town, where the prevailing wind blows this stink that is so disgusting on to the houses nearby. All people of westbury should protest by not paying any council tax .

  21. Sonia Griffiths

    June 20, 2020 at 9:43 am

    Is there a petition we could sign please?

  22. Russell Hawker

    June 20, 2020 at 10:48 am

    I am the Wiltshire Councillor for Westbury West which means I am the local member for this site and I will be fully involved in the matter in this capacity, though I will not be sitting on the relevant planning committee when the time comes to decide this matter.

    This proposal from Hills will require a new planning application. There will definitely be grounds to object and I am optimistic that, this time, there is a chance that the council will refuse the new application, especially if the proposed new plant is much bigger than than the permitted plant.

    I am often asked why I did not campaign against the last proposal. It was because the council must follow the law and planning policies imposed on it by Government and there was no legal way to refuse. It should be remembered that I was the only councillor who actually objected to the original planning application on the basis that emissions from the chimney would go south over the town during a northerly wind )one coming from the north and going south) AND that this would ground on homes in the Newtown and studland Park areas.

  23. Brian P

    June 20, 2020 at 4:24 pm

    This must not be allowed. The impact of this plant will be felt far and wide – more traffic heading to and through Westbury and Southwick, which already has far to many lorries travelling along Wynsome Street all day, every day. More Pollution.

  24. Russell Hawker

    June 20, 2020 at 9:08 pm

    To see the Northacre Energy proposals and info use the following web address:


    and add the usual .co and .uk after that first word.

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