SOUTH West Wiltshire MP Dr Andrew Murrison is being urged to lobby the Environment Secretary to ‘call in’ Northacre Renewable Energy’s proposals for a waste-to-energy incinerator in Westbury.

The company wants to change the technology for its Northacre facility from advanced thermal treatment gasification to conventional moving grate combustion.

Phil Harcourt, of Development Solutions UK Ltd at Heywood House, urged Dr Murrison to lobby Environment Secretary George Eustice to ensure that any attempt to amend the planning application is refused or called in.

He said: “I genuinely do not believe that Wiltshire Council is the appropriate authority to determine any further application.”

“As the chair stated at the meeting last year, the incinerator is important to Wiltshire Council as it will be processing its waste, and if it didn’t proceed it would cost the council a lot of money. As far as I can see, this is a blatant conflict of interest.”

Dr Murrison said: “I have spoken with and written to the planning authority, Wiltshire Council, and have asked the Environment Agency to opine on the assertions made in the operator’s letter to me in support of the switch.”

Bradford on Avon Town Council has also written to the Government and Wiltshire Council asking for the company’s application to be withdrawn.

They say it is not acceptable, given the two councils’ commitment to Climate Emergency Declarations and meeting air quality targets. The council voted unanimously at its full council meeting on Friday, June 26 to oppose any reduction in environmental standards that would apply to the planned gasification waste-to-energy plant in Westbury.

Cllr Alex Kay, the town council’s environmental and planning committee chairman, said: “The proposed changes, which are likely to appear in a revised planning application next month, will compound and increase the negative environmental impacts; not just with regard to increased carbon and particulate emissions but also increasing vehicular activity delivering larger volumes of waste, placing additional stresses on the town’s already overloaded highways infrastructure.”

She said the proposed changes ran counter to the Government’s avowed reduction in carbon footprint, saying it was detrimental to residents across the entire area.

Cllr Kay added: “They also run contrary to various court decisions which have cited the Government for failing to have in place a lawful plan to improve air quality. “We therefore consider this proposal, and any subsequent application to amend the approved plan, to be directly damaging and impactful on our community, the region and the environment and ask that it be withdrawn immediately.”