Wiltshire Publications

Town council welcomes Arla’s continued opposition to the incinerator

Story posted on

WESTBURY Town councillors have said they are grateful to food company, Arla dairies, for their continued opposition to the proposed waste incinerator, although the company is objecting on different grounds to the town council. 

Northacre Renewable Energy Ltd (NREL) won approval from Wiltshire Council for their plans to build a waste to energy incinerator in Westbury in June. Since then, there has been pressure for the Secretary of State to ‘call in’ the application for further scrutiny. The town awaits a decision from the recently-appointed Secretary of State, Michael Gove. If an enquiry is held, Westbury Town Council is preparing to make representation against the incinerator on behalf of the town. 

At a recent town council meeting, cllr Mike Sutton said, “We understand the position of Arla in regard to the proposed incinerator and are comfortable with their stance. Although they do not have a fundamental objection to the building of the plant, as does the town council, their reasons for objecting are very similar to ours and supports a central point of our objections. 

 “That is that [Wiltshire Council’s] Strategic Planning Committee did not consider all the relevant objections and brushed over many in their desire to get the application approved and did not give the attention it should have to the points raised at the meeting by Arla concerning product taint. 

“Although a different point to many we have made, it does once again highlight our comments that the committee gave undue preference to the applicants and scant regard to the many objectors. To that extent, we are grateful for their continued opposition.” 

Gavin Devine, public affairs adviser for Arla Foods said, “Our objection is on the grounds that we believe the incinerator could have a material adverse impact on our business because of the risk of emissions that would force us to suspend operations to avoid any effect on our products.  This could in turn impact on the dairy industry as a whole, due to Westbury’s unique role in balancing supply and demand for raw milk. 

“In our view, these questions have not been properly considered through the planning process to date, which is why we are urging the Secretary of State to call in the application for detailed consideration. 

“We speak regularly to Westbury Town Council and other stakeholders about the proposed incinerator and the steps we are taking to oppose it.  As a company we have to concentrate on the effect this development might have on Arla Westbury which is why we are focused on the issues we have raised.” 

Westbury Town Council recently set up a task and finish group to state their case against the building of the incinerator. 

One Response to Town council welcomes Arla’s continued opposition to the incinerator

  1. Michael Ryan

    October 11, 2021 at 11:34 am

    If anyone has evidence that incinerator emissions have no adverse effect on health, please disclose.

    Don’t share the opinion of the promoters of an incinerator in Capel, Surrey, who would have been surprised at the Dorking Advertiser article of 10 January 2008, which reported my research and included three electoral ward maps showing elevated rates of infant mortality in wards downwind of incinerators at Edmonton, Coventry and Kirklees. The following week had a right-of-reply article with headline:
    “If it was dangerous it wouldn’t be built, say incinerator bosses”.

    Anyone concerned about health effects of incinerator emissions should note that when Norman Baker MP asked “the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the correlation between the presence of a functioning incinerator and the incidence of infant mortality in that area.” (Hansard, 17 September 2007, c2209W).

    He was fobbed off with the following worthless reply from Ben Bradshaw MP, the Minister of State for Health: “In November 2005 the Health Protection Agency issued advice on the public health impact of Municipal Solid Waste Incineration.
    Emissions from modern waste incinerators in the United Kingdom are subject to stringent health controls.”

    The Health Protection Agency (HPA) promised in August 2003 to check health data around incinerators due to residents’ concerns. In March 2008, I used FoI to ask for a list of incinerators around which they’d examined rates of illness and rates of premature deaths at all ages at electoral ward level and compared upwind with downwind wards.

    Justin McCracken, the HPA’s Chief Executive, wrote to say that no such data had been examined around any incinerator and that appalling admission was reported on 22 May 2008 in both the Dorking Advertiser and also the Surrey Mirror.

    The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, the current Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, is the member of Parliament for Bromsgrove and his department and its predecessors have been failing the country on the incinerator issue since there was a sudden post-incinerator rise in Enfield’s infant mortality rate after the Edmonton incinerator started in 1971.
    Bromsgrove is downwind of the Hartlebury incinerator which started in 2017 and ONS data show the following infant death rates in the ten years 2011-2020:
    2011: 1.1 per 1,000 live births
    2012: 2.2 per 1,000
    2013: 2.3 per 1,000
    2014: 6.6 per 1,000
    2015: 3.3 per 1,000
    2016: 6.4 per 1,000
    2017: 3.2 per 1,000
    2018: 5.2 per 1,000
    2019: 10.9 per 1,000
    2020: 8.8 per 1,000 live births
    If the above data are plotted as three-year rolling averages, a sudden post-incinerator rise in infant death rates can be clearly seen.

    ONS data consistently show sudden post-incinerator rises in rates of infant mortality in councils exposed to emissions.
    Public Health England, upon whom the EA rely for expert opinion on health effects of incinerator emissions, have chosen to stay silent on the above pattern, just like the Health Protection Agency, their predecessor authority.

Leave a Reply

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