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Melksham says “no” to nearby “horrendous” waste incinerator

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PLANS for an incinerator in Westbury using “1960s technology”, have been unanimously objected to by Melksham Town Council.

The new application by Northacre Renewable Energy (NREL) to build a traditional ‘energy from waste’ incinerator, is a U-turn on their previously approved application to build a gasification plant, using ‘greener’ incinerating technology.

In their objection, Melksham town councillors raised concerns about the additional HGV vehicles moving through Melksham on the A350 and its impact on the town’s air quality; the high level of CO2 emissions generated from the incinerator; the potential risk of hazardous waste – a by-product of the incinerator – being transported through the town; and how the incinerator does not sit within Wiltshire Council’s declared ‘Climate Emergency’.

“Westbury will suffer something terrible if this goes ahead,” said mayor cllr Pat Aves at last week’s town council economic development and planning meeting.

“These plans are completely beyond me, I don’t understand why this is going ahead – it is old technology and it just shouldn’t be happening!”

Highlighting that the incinerator will accept deliveries of waste from locations within a two-hour  travelling distance, cllr Jon Hubbard, who is also a Wiltshire councillor,  added, “What this incinerator will have is lorry, after lorry, after lorry of waste being taken to it for disposable and to be burnt.

“We all know that the A350 is already overstretched, we all know that the A350 bottlenecks at peak times – I think we have real grounds to raise an objection in terms of the impact this will have on traffic.

“The current highway infrastructure cannot support this development.”

Cllr Adrienne Westbrook  added, “More than 60% of the waste material burnt by the incinerator will be transported by road, creating more congestion, pollution and environmental damage.

“It will generate in the region of a quarter of a million tonnes of CO2 each year, and lock the county into it for the next 25 years.”

Echoing the concerns about the incinerator’s environmental impact, cllr Hayley Illman, who is also a Wiltshire councillor added, “It’s also worth remembering that Wiltshire Council said it would be carbon neutral by 2030, and if Wiltshire Council sign into something like this, then this is already going back on the pledge – 

“This is going directly against something that has already been promised and we should make a big stink about it – pardon the pun!

“Even the least green-fingered people can see that this is a backward step.”

Cllr Westbrook added, “The incinerator and the transportation it needs to bring in waste will blow a huge hole in Wiltshire Council’s  aspirations of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.”

At the meeting, councillors unanimously resolved to object to the plans.

“We recognise, support and share the concerns of Westbury Town Council about the impact of this development on the immediate and wider community area,” summarised cllr Hubbard.

Plans for the traditional ‘energy from waste’ incinerator has attracted huge opposition from Westbury residents, Westbury Town Council and other nearby town and parish councils including Warminster Town Council, Trowbridge Town Council, North Bradley Parish Council, and Bratton Parish Council. MP for South West Wiltshire Andre Murrison, who has described the plans as a “disaster for Westbury”.

A decision by Wiltshire Council is expected by the end of November.

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