Wiltshire Publications

Opposition grows to incinerator plans after MPs’ health warning

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PRESSURE is growing on Wiltshire Council over its decision to grant planning permission for the controversial incinerator in Westbury, following a call from MPs for a moratorium on Britain’s incinerator expansion plans.

The proposed Incinerator Site next to the town of Westbury

A report by the all-party parliamentary group on air pollution says there should be a halt put on new incinerators to protect human health and cut carbon emissions. The report says that ultrafine particles released by incineration are a ‘significant health hazard’. 

And it has brought new hope to campaigners fighting the Westbury incinerator with local Westbury town councillors ramping up their opposition.

Mayor Sheila Kimmins said, “The town council are encouraged by the December 2021 report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group who declared that a moratorium should be placed on any similar future Incinerator schemes, this would add support for this incinerator application to be ‘Called-In’.

“It is therefore disappointing that faced with opposition from the All-Party Parliamentary Group, our own MP Andrew Murrison, the combined opposition of the residents of Westbury and all surrounding towns and villages, that Wiltshire Council seem determined to ignore everyone and proceed with this unwanted project. One must ask what the reason for their continued defiance of public opinion is.”

Cllr Mike Sutton, chair of the town council’s highways, planning and development committee added, “The report by MPs asking for a moratorium on all new incinerators is welcome as it highlights many of the concerns those opposed to the incinerator in Westbury have stated this past year. 

“What we should be asking is why Wiltshire Council are still trying to force this proposed plant onto the people of Westbury against the advice of a parliamentary committee and opposition from the town and all surrounding councils, rather than the people they are meant to represent.” 

Cllr Ward Jones said, “The decisions of Wiltshire Council in relation to the incinerator expansion plans raise serious questions about impartiality. Despite their theoretical support of Westbury’s air pollution problems and their own claimed climate emergency concerns, when it comes to action, they fail to take appropriate decisions.”

While cllr Jane Russ said, “Many councils are now finding that the anticipated earnings against running costs are dwindling because the UK already has more than enough incinerators to deal with home incineration.  

“The Government is beginning to see that incinerators are not the answer to landfill issues.  A circular economy and a proper joined up thinking attitude to the recycling hierarchy, (prevent/reduce/reuse/recycle/recover/dispose) is what will get us to Net Zero.  Dozens of incinerator projects have been stopped in the UK in the past decade and there is no reason why Westbury should not join that group.”

Wiltshire Council controversially approved plans from Northacre Renewable Energy Ltd (NREL) for a waste incinerator to be built in Westbury in June, despite large-scale opposition from Westbury and surrounding towns and villages. A decision is expected soon by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Michael Gove MP, as to whether he will ‘call in’ the application to reconsider the decision. 

Despite the mounting criticism, Wiltshire Council seem determined to push ahead with the incinerator plans.

When asked by White Horse News for their comments after the all-party parliamentary group called for a halt on incinerators, cllr Nick Botterill, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for development management said, “The strategic planning committee of Wiltshire Council resolved to approve the planning application, but the application has not yet been determined due to there being an outstanding request for the Secretary of State to consider ‘call-in’ of the application for his determination.  

“Wiltshire Council will therefore not issue any decision until such time as when the Secretary of State has made his decision on whether or not to call in the application and it is anticipated that the consideration of the above options will include the wider parliamentary concerns identified. 

“Should the Secretary of State decide to call-in the application, then he will make the decision as the council will no longer be the determining authority. Should the Secretary of State decide not to call-in the planning application, then Wiltshire Council will make the decision, in accordance with the Strategic Planning Committee’s original resolution. 

“The council has not been made aware of any specific concerns by the Secretary of State regarding the proposal at this time. Matters in relation to air pollution have already been considered through the planning process but are also a matter for the separate Environmental Permitting application process which lies outside of the planning system.” 

One Response to Opposition grows to incinerator plans after MPs’ health warning

  1. Michael+Ryan

    January 6, 2022 at 2:53 pm

    If MPs are concerned about health effects caused by incinerator emissions, they should ask why the former Health Protection Agency who’d promised in August 2003 to examine health effects of incinerators, failed to notice thie sudden post-incinerator rise in rates of infant mortality in councils exposed to emissions.. Plenty of incinerators the could have examined data for, such as Edmonton, Byker, Nottingham, Coventry, Dudley, Birmingham, Kirklees, Bolton, Wolverhampton, SELCHP, Colnbrook, Marchwood, Allington, etc. The PQ by Norman Baker MP about the incidence of infant mortality aroun functioning incinerators which was answered badly in September 2007 should be revisited together with ONS data for above and all other incinerators.

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