SOUTH West Wiltshire MP Dr Andrew Murrison has urged campaigners to resist plans to change the planning permission for the Westbury gasification plant to install a conventional incinerator.

The plans will be submitted in July/August by Northacre Renewable Energy, a partnership between Hills Waste and Bioenergy Infrastructure Group.

He says the move would significantly increase capacity and emissions and result in a dramatic increase in heavy traffic through Westbury taking household and industrial waste to the site on the Northacre Industrial Park in Stephenson Road.

Dr Murrison said: “This is completely unacceptable. The quasi-green gasification figleaf has been whipped away and now we are left with the prospect of a fully-fledged conventional incinerator on our doorstep.

“This morning I’ve been fed a load of old nonsense by Bioenergy about supply chains and Brexit uncertainty but its actual motivation is clear - increased capacity which has been one of my fears all along.

“That presumably means more emissions, more heavy traffic through Westbury and the burning of waste rather than reducing and recycling it.

“If the current health crisis has had any benefits, it’s been the chance to imagine a greener, cleaner future. That’s incompatible with this proposal.

“I have already raised the Bioenergy proposal with the leader of Wiltshire Council and I urge everyone to join me in resisting it.”

In a statement, Northacre Renewable Energy said it is proposing to change the technology for its Northacre facility from gasification to conventional moving grate combustion.

The facility has existing planning permission which was granted in 2019, however the changes now being proposed require that a new planning application is submitted.

A NRE spokesperson explained the primary reasons for the change in technology: “In the latter part of 2019 new lower emissions standards were introduced covering all energy from waste facilities.

“As a result, gasification offered no advantages on emissions when compared to more established conventional moving grate technology.

“Secondly, conventional moving grate technology supply chains are more established and better able to offer competitive solutions whilst guaranteeing build times in a post-BREXIT UK.

“In addition, conventional moving grate technology can offer more flexibility to adapt to the increasing focus and effort to remove certain materials such as plastic from residual waste streams.”

The Northacre facility will generate low carbon energy from residual waste that would otherwise be sent to landfill or exported to Europe for energy recovery outside of the UK.

The residual waste will be sourced primarily from commerce, industry and households within Wiltshire, including outputs from the adjacent waste treatment plant.

Hills added: “Government strategy recognises that energy from waste is preferable to landfill in the waste hierarchy and that the export of waste-derived fuel does not contribute to UK energy targets and is effectively a lost resource to the UK.

“The kind of technology that the plant will use has been endorsed by the Committee on Climate Change, which in its Technical Report of May 2019 specifically called for greater private sector investment in energy-from-waste capacity in the UK as part of the country’s path to a zero-carbon economy.

“The electricity generated will boost the local electricity supply network, unlocking development on the surrounding employment zone on Northacre Industrial Estate and nearby Hawke Ridge Business Park.

“Once operational, the Northacre facility will support 40 permanent, skilled jobs. During the construction phase, at peak activity, there will be around 450 construction workers employed.”

NREL expects to submit the planning application in July/August this year and submit its environmental permit application to the Environment Agency immediately after validation of the planning application.

Further details on the proposals can be viewed at

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