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Clock is ticking for town’s response to incinerator plans

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TIMEis running out for residents to formally express their views on the new ‘energy from waste’ incinerator plans for Westbury.

Westbury Town Council has arranged an extraordinary meeting at 7pm on Monday 7th September to discuss its response to Northacre Renewable Energy’s (NREL’s) revised application which was originally for a gasification plant, described as a greener option than the traditional ‘energy from waste’ model.

This meeting will be held remotely and will be available to watch via a live stream.

The final decision on NREL’s application will be made by the local planning authority, which is Wiltshire Council. Westbury Town councillors can only discuss the application and pass on their comments to Wiltshire Council. Members of the public who also wish to make comments are encouraged to do so directly to Wiltshire Council, as the town council is not allowed to pass on comments on residents’ behalf. 

The closing date for comments is Tuesday 22nd September.

Last week, local MP Andrew Murrison told White Horse News, “The gasification application was bad enough but this planned switch to an old style incinerator is a real shocker. We have a strong record of successfully opposing environmentally damaging operations in Westbury. I’d ask everyone to formally register their objection.” 

Westbury councillors have criticised the revised plans, describing them as being “shoddy” and ‘misleading.’ They took issue with NREL saying that the  latest plans are an amendment only, implying that it was just a formality to be passed. Wiltshire Council has confirmed that the latest plans, the fourth from the company, is a full application, not just an amendment. In an earlier discussion, town councillors were concerned about increased traffic for Westbury and surrounding villages, and possible affects on health.

Local campaign group Westbury Gasification Group/ No Westbury Incinerator says, “NRE/Hills plan to build a waste combustion plant on our doorstep! If you do not believe that it is of benefit to our town to commit to 25 years of incineration of ’unidentified waste from anywhere’ then you need to act before Tuesday 22nd September.”

The group is objecting because of the plan’s location close to the town and local housing, its visual impact, environmental concerns, operating hours and the traffic to and from the site.

The group is urging members of the public to find out more on its Facebook page – https://en-gb.facebook.com/ groups/181924519208839/

Westbury Town Council has stated, “Those wishing to make comments to support or object to the planned incinerator in Westbury need to be aware that the decision will be taken by our local planning authority which is Wiltshire Council and your comments must go there if you want them to be considered.

“We, at Westbury Town Council, are always interested to hear what people in Westbury think about any planning application, but we do not decide whether to grant permission or not – that is the right of the unitary authority, Wiltshire Council.

“Westbury Town Council has a highways, planning and development committee (HP&D) which will consider this application but only in our role as a statutory consultee. This means Wiltshire Council must, by law, ask us for our comments on any local planning application, but it does not mean that they have to agree with us.Comments sent to Westbury Town Council will be seen only by Westbury town councillors and, regrettably, they cannot be passed on to Wiltshire Council.”

The Westbury Town Council extraordinary meeting on Monday 7th September (7pm) is open to the public and press. 

Due to the current restrictions, all council meetings are held online. Members of the public are invited to address the council at the meeting at 7pm. Participants are asked to register at least 24 hours before the start of the meeting by emailing info@westburytowncouncil.gov.uk The council will also accept written questions by email up to 3pm on the day of the meeting.

Any members of the press and public can follow the meeting by using the link given on Westbury Town Council’s website: Highways, Planning and Development Meeting Link, Monday 7th September 2020, 7pm

The public forum commencing at 7pm will not  exceed 30 minutes. Members of the public are welcome to make representations, ask questions and give evidence at a meeting which they are entitled to attend in respect of the business on the agenda. 

Any individual representation is limited to no more than 5 minutes. 

The chairman will call for representation from those who registered to speak; written representations can also be submitted to the town clerk in advance of the meeting. A summary record of any public participation session shall be included in the minutes.

Recording and using social media is permitted at council meetings which are open to the public however, anyone wishing to do so should speak to the clerk prior to the meeting as there are rules which must be followed.

Westbury town council has resolved to capture a full recording of all committee and town council meetings (including the public forum) and will be published on their website.

Once the minutes have been approved and signed by the chair at the next available meeting, the recording will be removed from the council’s website.

2 Responses to Clock is ticking for town’s response to incinerator plans

  1. Varun Sharma

    September 3, 2020 at 5:28 am

    Thank you for describing this topic in such amazing way.

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