Wiltshire Publications

Northacre to appeal over waste incinerator decision delay

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NORTHACRE Renewable Energy Ltd (NREL) have appealed for ‘non-determination’ of their plans to bring an energy-from-waste incinerator to Westbury. NREL say that, as the plans have been in determination since August 2020, Wiltshire Council has failed to determine the application within the statutory period. 

In April of this year, Wiltshire Council’s Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) elected to defer a final decision on NREL’s application to change the technology for the proposed waste incinerator from gasification to moving grate combustion. The council is awaiting the outcome of the Government’s consultation on various environmental targets – which includes a consultation on residual waste targets for 2042. 

Wiltshire Council’s SPC are set to meet this month to decide the outcome of the plans, but NREL claim that no new information will be available to the committee by the time they meet and, as a result, they believe the committee will not determine the planning application either way and the plans will be delayed even further. 

A statement from NREL reads, “This Government consultation was extended in May, with a new closing date of 27th June, and the consultation documentation indicates that there will be no published outcome before October, at the earliest. This means that there will be no new information on this matter available to the SPC by the time of its July meeting – relative to the April meeting.  

“Consequently, NREL do not believe that Wiltshire Council’s SPC will determine the planning application either way, and this much-needed development will therefore be subjected to further delays.” 

Cllr Nick Botterill, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for strategic planning said, “In the event of an appeal, the decision-making responsibility for the application moves from Wiltshire Council to a government-appointed planning inspector. It will still be necessary for the council to determine how it would have decided the application if the decision-making responsibility had been left with the council. This decision will be taken by the SPC in due course.” 

NREL were granted planning permission by Wiltshire Council in 2019 to build a gasification energy-from-waste facility, but opted to change the technology to moving grate incineration – this is the current on-going application for which NREL has launched the non-determination appeal. 

NREL has commenced building work on the site, which is allowed as part of the initial plans, which were given permission. 

When asked by the White Horse News if they now plan to build the gasification facility following an appeal for non-determination, NREL say they will “take time to consider their next steps”, but they say they remain committed to the incinerator plans. 

In a statement, NREL said, “NREL began undertaking some initial construction work to implement the 2019 planning permission, in May 2022, and although NREL will be taking time to consider our next steps, we remain committed to delivering the Northacre facility which Wiltshire fundamentally needs now, in 2042 and beyond. 

“Nevertheless, we believe the Northacre facility is in line with the Government’s targets to reduce residual waste by 50% by 2042. We are fully behind these ambitions, which will involve preventing waste being created in the first place, and promoting the use of more recyclable materials. However, in the meantime there is, and will continue to be, a need to responsibly manage non-recyclable waste.”  

Wiltshire Council’s SPC will meet in Trowbridge County Hall on Wednesday 27th July at 10.30am, to consider the incinerator application. Westbury Town Council, who strongly oppose the incinerator plans, has asked its legal representatives to appoint a specialist to help identify any watertight planning objections, in preparation for when the application is considered this month.