Wiltshire Publications

Chippenham pledges £1,000 to help fight against the proposed incinerator plans in Westbury, by local democracy reporter Matthew McLaughlin

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CHIPPENHAM Town Council unanimously pledged that it would set aside £1,000 for Westbury Town Council for a legal challenge against Wiltshire Council’s approval of the Northacre Renewable Energy incinerator plans. 

Newly appointed town council leader, Cllr Desna Allen, called the request unprecedented and noted there was some hesitancy in directing Chippenham taxpayers money to fighting a legal battle elsewhere in the county. 

She said that with “prevailing wind” the carbon particles emitted by the incinerator could become an issue for other towns – even in north Wiltshire. 

It was proposed to set aside £1,000 providing that Westbury funds the rest of the battle itself. 

“I do not want to breathe in more carbon particles than I have to and so on balance I think that would be a good idea,” said Cllr Allen. 

Cllr Claire Cape agreed with the proposal and said that councillors should take it upon themselves to support Westbury in its campaign objecting to the plans. 

In total 18 town and parish councils were approached by Westbury to help give financial help over NREL’s bid. 

Cllr Bill Douglas said the costs could spiral and supported Cllr Allen’s ‘carefully worded proposal’. 

Cllr Nick Murry said the incinerator would produce significant amounts of otherwise avoidable carbon dioxide. 

“It will lock in incineration for years to come,” he said. “The other question is; how does it affect Chippenham? And I think it does. 

“If it was a county-wide issue and it was happening here, we would be expected to get support from surrounding councils.” 

He added that congestion on the A350 with vehicles headed to the plant would further impact the town and that there was debate over the amount of carbon being pumped into the air.

Cllr Murry asked that the town council ask what Westbury hopes to achieve before getting further involved. 

Cllr Jenny Budgell suggested that they request regular feedback from Westbury on the legal challenge.