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Northacre energy-from-waste incinerator plant

Wiltshire Council withdraws support for incinerator plan

Plans to build a £200 million energy-from-waste incinerator plant in Westbury appear to have lost the support of Wiltshire Council.

It now looks likely that a planning inspector will determine the application by Reading-based Northacre Renewable Energy Ltd – something then-secretary of state Michael Gove said was not needed back in April.

The applicants say the incinerator, at Northacre Industrial Estate, could burn 243,000 tonnes of non-hazardous waste per year, 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.

But the proposals have been met with fierce local opposition, backed by MP Dr Andrew Murrison.

On Wednesday (July 27) Wiltshire Council’s Strategic Planning Committee voted against approving a planning application.

The committee said it was ‘minded to refuse’ the application based on the grounds that it does not represent sustainable development.

The committee delegated the final wording of the motion to officers, and this will be resolved in the coming days – but it does not change the committee’s decision. When this is agreed, the planning inspector will be informed.

Nick Botterill, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for planning, said: “The planning application for a revised energy-from-waste facility in Westbury has been carefully considered after reviewing all the new evidence that has come to light since the first application was considered in June last year.

“The committee has decided to advise the Secretary of State that it would have refused planning permission on the grounds that it does not represent sustainable development.”

Howard Greenman, chairman of the council’s strategic planning committee, said: “The Strategic Planning Committee is part of the statutory planning process and comprises cross-party members from around the county.

“The committee has now considered the application three times and has made a democratic decision based on the evidence presented before it and the expert advice of officers.”

Consent for the facility was initially granted by Wiltshire Council in 2015. Since then the project has bounced between applicant and the council as site layout and the applicant’s decision to move from gasification technology to a conventional moving grate technology have been determined.

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