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Council committee defers Northacre incinerator planning application after considering new information

Wiltshire Council‘s strategic planning committee has voted to defer the planning application from Northacre Renewable Energy Ltd for an energy from waste facility in Westbury.

The committee previously resolved to approve the application on 22 June 2021, but had to revisit the decision to consider changes to relevant policy and legislation that have been published in the nine months since the original resolution was made, along with some further representations from third parties.

On 31 March, the council received notification that the Secretary of State does not wish to call-in the application.

When looking again at the application, the new information that the committee considered included: the updated National Planning Policy Framework, published on 20 July 2021; the Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener, published by the Ministry of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on 19 October 2021; The Environment Act, which was enacted into law on 9 November 2021; written representations received on behalf of Arla and UKWIN, and others; and the Government’s consultation on the review of National Energy Policy Statements EN-1 and EN-3.

After considering this new evidence, the committee – which is made up of a representative cross-section of Wiltshire Councillors – voted to defer the application.

Cllr Nick Botterill, cabinet member for planning, said: We recognise that the effect of this decision in bringing further uncertainty to the matter of the incinerator will be disappointing for many people, but having taken into account all the relevant new considerations, along with the environmental information previously considered, plus expert planning and legal advice, the committee has decided to defer this application.

“The decision has not been taken lightly, but the committee felt it should take time to fully consider the amount of new information provided and to wait and consider the outcome of the Government’s consultation on the review of National Energy Policy Statements EN-1 and EN-3. This consultation closes in May 2022.”

The £200 million power plant – a joint venture between the Bioenergy Infrastructure Group and The Hills Group – could incinerate 243,000 tonnes of non-hazardous waste per year at Northacre Industrial Estate, creating 25.6MW of energy: enough to meet the average annual domestic power requirements of more than 54,000 homes and helping save around 58,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent annually.

This application will now be considered again by the strategic planning committee by the end of July 2022.

To read the full committee papers, go to: https://cms.wiltshire.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=145&MId=14210

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