Wiltshire Publications

Town council to consider environmental impact of incinerator

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WESTBURY Town Council will be drafting a response to the Environment Agency’s consultation on the impact of the proposed waste incinerator in the town.

The consultation deadline is 21st January.

The local protest group, WGAG/No Incinerator, is continuing its opposition to the incinerator and has issued a response to the consultation entitled ‘Making Westbury a Healthier Place to Live and Breathe’ (see page 3). 

There is currently no update on when a decision may be made on the planning application for the building of the incinerator. It was due for consideration at the end of November, but  the meeting was postponed. 

At a meeting of the council’s highways, planning and development committee, councillors were told that  Northacre Renewable Energy Limited’s environmental impact application to the EA was “quite technical.” Councillors also heard of concerns by members of the public, and a request to ask the Environment Agency for an extention to the consultation period.

 At the meeting, chair of the committee, cllr Ian Cunningham said, “We need to have a  carefully thought out response, so I’m proposing we get a group together to bring some thoughts back to our next meeting  on 18th January.”

Members voted unanimously in favour of the proposal, which had been seconded by cllr Jane Russ. 

The meeting heard representations from two residents, read by the clerk.

Regarding air quality reports, Nadia Evans said, “There are no local residential receptors in the area of Newtown, Studland Park and The Butts, yet when the wind is in that direction due to the height of the chimney at the same level as residents, they will receive undispersed emissions.”

She went on to say that plume grounding – where plumes of smoke fall to the ground from chimneys – would occur 11 months of the year when the incinerator is working.   

Nadia asked, “Will Westbury Town Council, as the representative of the residents, ask the Environment Agency to consider the above as being most important for our health?”

And Dan Gmaj from the local WGAG/No Incinerator group said,  “Councillors should be aware that there are calls for the Environment Agency to extend this consultation period to the end of February 2021 to account for the contrasting briefings issued. We are now on briefing 8 although, as of this morning, briefing 6 still shows on their website.”

The clerk told members that Dan had requested that the committee consider issuing an immediate statement to urge the Environmental Agency (EA) to extend the consultation by 6 weeks to allow for maximum scrutiny. 

Cllr Gordon King said he would like to see the briefings for himself to see if there was any confusion.

“I’m conscious of the fact that the EA will not acquiesce to any such request without good reason, so I’m not entirely sure that there   are good reasons and I know that people have asked for extensions up until now and that all requests have been rebuffed,” he said.

Cllr Cunningham proposed the clerk look into the matter and report back and everyone voted in favour.

He also made reassurances after Dan Gmaj questioned whether air quality data recorded by a recently-purchased air monitor would be used by the council.

“It is the intention of the council to use any data we have as background data against future measurements,” cllr Cunningham said.

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