PROTESTERS objecting to the £200 million proposed energy from waste incinerator at Westbury say that even if the public inquiry decision goes against them they have succeeded in uniting the local community.

Northacre Renewable Energy Ltd wants to burn non-recyclable waste at the proposed incinerator to generate electricity for thousands of homes in Westbury.

The company appealed against Wiltshire Council’s decision on July 27 not to grant final approval to its application to change the use of technology from advanced thermal treatment to moving grate combustion on the grounds that it does not represent sustainable development.

The protesters were out in force when the public inquiry inspector Stephen Normington toured Westbury on Monday. His inquiry decision is not expected until the New Year.

Dan Gmaj, of the Westbury Gasification Action Group / No Westbury Incinerator, has praised residents, councils and the local MP Dr Andrew Murrison, for their support.

He said in a statement: “Whatever decision is eventually made by this current, and most distasteful segment, we already categorically know that the argument 'locally' has been won!

“Won locally 'in our terms' long ago, with towns, MP and village communities all united in opposition to the NREL / Hills many incinerator proposals, the greatest opposition to a series of planning proposals that Wiltshire has ever seen.

“Won locally according to the Secretary of State Michael Gove's criterion too, the moment that the strategic planning committee decided that the proposal no longer represented sustainable development by a vote of 8 to 1. A unanimous vote indeed, if you remove the predetermined councillor. 

“If the inspector's eventual decision is rightly, to uphold refusal. Great, let us all move on with our lives although there is still the matter of the alleged commencement of the earlier incarnation.

“But if the decision is to overturn the refusal, there will forever be (£) 200,000,000 questions in all of our minds as to how 'one man' can be in the legal position to overturn eight years of hard-fought democratic (for the most part) process.

“An unnecessary and undemocratic end process and a waste of public funds it may be (and definitely is, in my opinion) we nonetheless salute every one of you that has contributed to the campaign, whether still speaking up for us all or any that have demonstrated, objected and made loud your voices in the past.

“Our community is so much stronger for your united voices, so keep on making noise.”