A FORMER Mayor of Westbury says the town council is still concerned over plans to dig a 10.6-kilometre trench from Westbury to Frome.

They fear archaeological and ecological damage may result from Northacre Renewable Energy's plans to provide a cable connection to the National Grid.

The company, part of the Swindon-based Hills Group, wants to connect its proposed new gasification waste treatment plant on the Northacre Industrial Park to an electricity sub-station at Rodden Road in Frome.

Cllr Ian Cunningham, who was Westbury's mayor last year, said Northacre's application for the underground cabling should have been considered as part of a whole package.

Instead, the cabling application was separated from the main application for the Advanced Thermal Treatment (ATT) plant which Westbury Town Council has opposed since 2014.

Cllr Cunningham said: "An 11-km cable cutting through the countryside rather underlines that this is not an ideal location.

"Had this requirement been part of the main application (a connection from a power generating plant to the grid is in reality an intrinsic part of the whole) it might have been helped the earlier committees to see our point.

"The way that the whole operation (MTB, ATT, cable etc) has arrived in stages is perfectly acceptable within the planning rules but has prevented the combined impact on the location from being properly considered.

"Burning waste isn’t really renewable in any proper definition (virtually nothing is used again) but beyond that, processing and burning it so close to our residents in a congested town really doesn’t make sense to me."

The council also fears that emissions at the smaller end of the particulate scales (under PM1) which are currently unregulated will not be considered by the Environment Agency in any approval process.

Cllr Cunningham said: "The regulations currently only cover the risks from larger particles (PM2.5 & PM10). Further regulations for smaller particles are likely to appear in the future as the medical evidence for the risks is growing."