CAMPAIGNERS fighting a highly controversial plan to build an £200 million waste-to-energy incinerator in Westbury within metres of residential housing and care providers have written to Wiltshire's director of public health.

The Westbury Gasification Action Group / No Westbury Incinerator is urging Kate Blackburn to re-examine the application and look at its potential impact on human health.

Northacre Renewable Energy Ltd, a joint venture company involving Swindon-based Hills Group and Bioenergy Infrastructure Group, a UK independent power producer specialising in energy-from-waste and biomass facilities, have already gained planning permission for the waste incinerator.

Local MP Dr Andrew Murrison, who also opposes the plans, has been copied in to the group's letter. More than a dozen town and parish councils and hundreds of locals have objected to the scheme.

NREL's plans were approved in 2019 but it wants to change the technology from advanced thermal treatment to moving grate combustion. Wiltshire Council has yet to decide this application.

The company's application for an operating licence is still being considered by the Environment Agency, with public consultation closing on Monday February 22.

WGAG / NWI said: "Burning waste as a form of fuel to produce power is archaic.

"Northacre Renewable Energy Ltd have changed their application to build an incinerator on Northacre Trading Estate to a technology that is unsuitable for so many reasons.

"Coupled with wanting to bring thousands upon thousands of tonnes of industrial and commercial waste to process and supplement the household waste provided by Wiltshire residents – up by 50 per cent more from their last application in 2019, the impact on the health of Westbury residents and those in the surrounding areas is being side-lined. The issue of public health is falling between Wiltshire Council and the Environment Agency.

"When our very lives are challenged by Covid-19, building an incinerator so near to housing, where adults and children with underlying health conditions such as heart disease, COPD and cancer live is pushing commercial interests ahead of people’s lives. Westbury has an above average mortality rate for these diseases."

"We don’t want to look back in ten years and wonder why we did not act to protect our children and vulnerable people. Returning to the past is not what our future should be."