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Wiltshire councillors can still fight incinerator plans

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LOCAL Westbury incinerator protest group’s Dan Gmaj has called on local councillors to keep up the pressure on Wiltshire Council over the Hills application for a waste incinerator in Westbury.

There are opportunities to fight for Westbury at two upcoming meetings, says Dan – the Westbury Area Board’s ‘Environment’ Forum (which was due to be held on Tuesday this week, 12th October, as White Horse News went to press) and at a meeting of the full Wiltshire Council on 19th October. 

“Please take the responsible action and place ‘opposing incineration in our town’ as an absolute priority when considering ‘local environmental action’ in Westbury,” he says in a message to local Wiltshire councillors.

And he says the councillors should challenge the legitimacy of the decision made by Wiltshire Council’s planning committee, which he has described as biased and predetermined.

Local MP Andrew Murrison has also questioned Wiltshire Council’s decision. “I’m hopeful the new Secretary of State will have the matter called in,” he told WHN. “The financial link with Hills is germane (relevant) in my view although the council will say there is a fire wall between strategic planning and contracts. However, it is something that might be tested by the LGO (local government ombundsman) as planning is within scope.”

Dan Dmaj in his message to Wiltshire councilors continued, “On behalf of all against this ‘moving grate’  incinerator proposal,  I ask you to use that opportunity to challenge the decision made by five members of the strategic planning committee who followed the clearly ‘predetermined’ decision to both ‘move to approve’ and then approve the Hills / NRE incinerator in Westbury made by the chair, cllr Harold Greenman and vice-chair,  cllr Tony Trotman; who, themselves, of course, also voted to approve!” 

He adds, “I cannot stress highly enough the positive value of the outspoken ‘unity of opposition’ to the proposed Westbury incinerator by all members of our area board, 17 neighbouring town and parish councils, our MP of course and our community group (of 1,800+ now!) also the many hundreds of community supporters not using social media on our mailing list.

“Sadly, the ‘living  reality’ is that democratic aspects of the planning process at our unitary council would appear to have been compromised as the result of the council’s long term financial relationship with the Hills Group.  

“A company that intends to further profit from ‘perverse incentive’ (as MPs have referred to it) to encourage the increased production of, and bringing in of waste, some 80% of which (in Westbury) will be commercial, to feed this plant for a 25-year period.  

“This in an area currently seeing record numbers of house building in the midst of already poor health outcomes locally, and a climate issue globally that we are all only too aware of.  

“It is a ‘foul smelling’ matter indeed, and ‘you’ are our representatives to help redress it! 

“Your action as our elected representatives is needed now, more than ever before, to prevent already poor health outcomes for our community to become even worse!”

3 Responses to Wiltshire councillors can still fight incinerator plans

  1. Dan

    October 15, 2021 at 9:25 am

    Many thanks to White Horse News for recognising and continuing to support Westbury’s amazing #CommunityPower 👏
    There must be:

    #NoWestburyIncinerator 🥳

    #WestburyGAG ♻️

  2. Erica Watson

    October 15, 2021 at 4:34 pm

    Very well said Dan and WHN. It would be interesting to hear comments from Harold Greenman and Tony Trotman re this article which speaks for the Westbury and area community. It takes a brave man to change his mind publicly so watch this space.
    Keep up the good work Dan and team

  3. Dan

    October 16, 2021 at 2:12 pm

    Thanks Erica, I doubt the individuals mentioned (It’s Howard Greenman btw, ‘Harold’ was a typo in the original document) will change their minds but five of their party colleagues on the committee were undoubtedly swayed by The Chair & Vice Chair’s obvious apparent pre-determination and misleading statements on the day. Even Two out of five would swing the decision but sadly we cannot just arrange a rematch as such! The Case officers ‘Move to approve’ was definitely part of the predetermination process here and should never have happened with the weight of evidence to correctly refuse the plant! Sadly, a ‘Move to approve’ is often seen as, and indeed usually reported in the press (WHN!) as ‘A GREEN LIGHT’ for any given application!

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