Wiltshire Publications

Over 1,000 incinerator comments overwhelm Wiltshire Council

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WILTSHIRE Council was so inundated with  letters opposing the new energy from waste incinerator plan for Westbury, that weeks after the comments deadline, it had failed to publish hundreds on its website.

Residents who wrote and objected to Northacre Energy Ltd’s bid for the plant at Stephenson Road by 22nd September were frustrated that by the beginning of October their concerns could still not be viewed online. 

They questioned why of over 1,000 written objections  submitted that  a week later  just 667 could be seen on the council’s planning portal.

Westbury resident and objector, Stephen Pyne, told White Horse News, “It looks like Wiltshire Council can’t cope with all the letters about the waste plant.

“Yesterday morning [Thursday 1st October] there were 667 representation letters on the portal. Yesterday evening 667. This morning 667. The rumour on Spotted Westbury is that there is over 1,000 letters.

“It doesn’t look like Wiltshire Council are trying very hard to get the letters published.”

When Stephen emailed  Wiltshire Council he received a reply saying, “We have received a large amount of correspondence relating to this application, and have put this note up on the web site – If you have sent in a comment about application 20/06775/WCM – Amended energy from waste facility to that consented under Planning Permission 18/09473/ WCM at Northacre Energy from Waste Facility Stephenson Road Northacre Trading Estate Westbury BA13 4W – we will have received your comment and it will be passed to the case officer and will be taken into account in the assessment of the application. However due to the volume of representations received, it will take longer than usual for us to publish these onto the website.

“So yes, we will have received it but it may take a few days to appear on the website.”

Kate Knight from WGAG / No Westbury Incinerator campaign group  also enquired with the council and posted the reply from  the head of development management, Mike Wilmott, via Andrew Murrison MP, on WGAG’s Facebook page, 

The reply said, “The context to this is that we have received over 1,000 representations, so not surprisingly, it will take us a while to work through  these and get them onto our system.

 “It’s not a question  of being ‘tardy’ but as you will appreciate, the staff  involved are also responsible  for registering and processing new applications, and we can’t divert all the resources to uploading objections and leave those submitting planning applications in limbo. We have posted a notice on the website to explain.”

Mike Wilmott added, “I have also made it clear that the purpose of public consultation is to allow all those who wish to make comments to examine the proposals and comment on them. To facilitate this, we have allowed additional time for people to submit their comments – some six weeks.

“We won’t be extending the period of formal consultation any further at this stage as we have to have an opportunity to assess the consultation and public responses.” 

By the time White Horse News went to press, Wiltshire Council’s total of submissions was 926 comments from the public, with 14 consultee responses, from councils etc.

Wiltshire Council is due to make its decision on plans for an energy from waste plant, submitted by NREL (Northacre Renewable Energy Ltd), at the end of November.

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