Wiltshire Publications

Incinerator gets seal of approval from Environment Agency

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THE Environment Agency (EA) has granted a permit for Northacre Renewable Energy Ltd (NREL) to operate an incinerator in Westbury. 

The EA said it was ‘minded’ to issue a draft permit back in March and, following a review of online public comments of the draft decision, the permit was granted on Wednesday 15th June. 

Many locals opposed the permit, and while the EA says it understands many will be disappointed with the outcome, it says they can find “no reason” not to grant the permit.  

The decision does not mean that NREL can start building the energy-from-waste incinerator, as the final planning decision falls to the strategic planning committee of Wiltshire Council who are convening on 27th July. 

The notice from the EA reads, “We understand that you may be disappointed with this result and want to reassure you that the permit will ensure that robust levels of environmental protection are met.  

“Our decision process is objective and based on NREL demonstrating that they have met, and will continue to meet, expected mandatory conditions as outlined in the permit.  

“Environmental law sets out these conditions, and as a regulator we are obliged to issue the permit if we can find no reason that the operator would not be able to comply.” 

Wiltshire and Westbury town councillor, cllr Gordon King, says he is disappointed with the decision, but he has vowed to fight against this application “to the end”. 

Cllr King said, “The decision is a great shame and I believe it’s a mistake for EA to issue a permit as locally, we will all feel the impact from this facility while all the benefits will be felt more regionally or nationally – Westbury will suffer for the benefit of others. 

“The EA should have considered that NREL have not arranged for any contracts or meaningful agreements with neighbours or anyone in the community. In Westbury, we have one of the greatest deprived communities, and many would have benefitted from providing electricity at a much cheaper rate, especially in these harsh financial times. 

“We will fight this application to the end but if it is approved, we will monitor the facility with great interest and make sure NREL remain compliant as well as making sure the EA stick to their word.” 

Westbury Town Council has recently agreed to ask its legal representatives to appoint a specialist to help identify any watertight planning objections, in preparation for the Wiltshire Council planning meeting on 27th July.  

Alex Young, director of NREL commented, “NREL welcome the decision from the EA to issue the environmental permit required to operate the Northacre facility. We are a step closer to addressing the pressing need for a sustainable, long-term solution to the region’s non-recyclable waste by reducing landfill’s contribution to climate change, whilst increasing energy security.” 

To view the EA’s permit document in full, search EPR/CP3803LV/A001 on the gov.uk website

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