Wiltshire Publications

New incinerator plan horrifies environmental campaigners

Story posted on

CAMPAIGNERShave been left ‘horrified’ by revised plans for the waste treatment plant in Westbury, following a u-turn decision by developers to ditch ‘greener’ incinerating technology in favour of conventional methods.

Westbury Gasification Action Group (WGAG)  has warned that the new plans for the plant, on Westbury’s industrial estate, will have serious implications for the town’s air quality, which has already been highlighted by Wiltshire Council as one of eight areas in the county of concern. 

The news, which was broken online last week by White Horse News, revealed that plans for the controversial gasification plant, which the group had fought tirelessly against for several years, were to be scrapped.

Instead, Northacre Renewable Energy Limited (NREL) – a  joint venture by The Hills Group and Bioenergy Infrastructure Group –  is proposing to build a waste treatment plant using convential incineration technology and to significantly increase its capacity.

The new proposal requires a new planning application, which is expected to be submitted next month, and campaigners say they will be ready to ‘scrutinise’ the detail.

MP Andrew 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 (Friday 19th June) I’ve besen 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.”

NRELsay they will be hosting virtual community engagement event on 7th July at 6pm, which the company says is  an opportunity for those interested to engage with the NREL team. Details of how to engage in the meeting are included in the company’s statement, inside on page 19.

A spokesperson for WGAG, Margaret Cavanna, told White Horse News, “News of the latest proposals for the Northacre site has horrified our members.  Having tried to sell previous plans on the basis that gasification was a modern, superior technology, it’s incredible that NREL now intends to revert to conventional incineration.  

“It appears the company would be increasing the 160,000 tonnes per year waste capacity of the plant, so this would have many implications: more CO2 and other emissions into the atmosphere and increased pollution from traffic.  

“If the developers change the feedstock to be burned and use more unprocessed waste, people living near the facility could see an increase in nuisances such as odour and flies, as experienced at many similar sites. 

“If they propose and increase to the building size or stack height, views from the White Horse and many points in the town would be blighted even more than under previous plans.

“Given the need to meet pledges by both Westbury and Wiltshire Councils to be carbon neutral by 2030, and to move to a circular economy, we should be looking at waste solutions higher up the ‘waste hierarchy’ and ditch these noxious processes once and for all.  

“The Covid-19 crisis has placed even greater focus on the links between air pollution and public health, the need to redesign waste out of our systems, use resources responsibly and ensure a sustainable future.  If it received planning approval this latest development takes Wiltshire in the opposite direction.  

“However I’m confident NREL can count on huge opposition to these moves from people in and around Westbury, as well as further afield.  We will scrutinise the detail when it’s available and formulate our responses during the consultation period.”

For more information about WGAG and how to support the campaign, email westburygag@gmail.com; visit Westbury Gasification Action Group on Facebook; or follow @westburygag on Twitter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *