WESTBURY MP Andrew Murrison says ‘the fight goes on’ to stop a £200 million energy from waste incinerator being built in the town.

Dr Murrison is campaigning to persuade the Government to introduce a moratorium on all new waste incinerators being built - including one planned by Northacre Renewable Energy Ltd for Westbury.

Dr Murrison, the MP for South West Wiltshire, is also calling for an incinerator tax similar to the current landfill tax to encourage more responsible waste management.

His aim is to stop the incinerator at Westbury allowed by the Bristol-based planning inspectorate and to halt further waste burners. 

The proposed new facility on the Northacre Industrial Park was given the go-ahead by planning inspector Stephen Norrington on February 21, despite a refusal from Wiltshire Council and objections from Westbury Town Council and hundreds of locals.

Dr Murrison recently met with DEFRA Secretary of State Therese Coffey to discuss his concerns and to urge a change of policy on incinerators.

He said: "I sense that we're making progress against these unloved, unnecessary, polluting monstrosities. 

"That they manage to eek out a little bit of energy from material they burn is being used as a fig leaf to disguise the underlying nature of the operation which should have no place in modern waste management. The fight goes on."

Dr Murrison has also received a reply to his latest representation to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities objecting to waste incineration in general and the burner planned for Westbury in particular.

In response, Housing and Planning Minister Rachel Maclean confirmed that from 2028 burners will no longer have their privileged position under the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

The minister also says that DEFRA will be publishing a review currently underway of planned incinerator capacity.

She said: “Policy is clear that all efforts must be made to prevent waste from arising in the first instance.

“Where waste does occur, we need to manage it in the most resource-efficient way possible, preparing items for re-use, before recycling and finally recovering energy from those wastes that cannot be prevented.

“Our view is that waste incineration should not compete with greater waste prevention, re-use or recycling; however, it does play an important role in diverting waste from landfill and is usually the best management option for most residual waste.

“The UK Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) Authority has confirmed its intention to expand the scope of the UK ETS to include waste incineration and energy from waste facilities.

“The Authority intends to commence a monitoring, reporting and verification period from 2026-2028, before full implementation in 2028. This gives a five-year period of notice for the sector and their customers to prepare for implementation.

“Through engagement with the sector, we know that this clear signal has already incentivised operators to investigate how they can reduce their emissions to reduce their exposure to the carbon price, such as by installing carbon capture and storage technology.

“In addition, this will give the sector time to adjust to the additional waste policies that are coming into force over the next few years, and the monitoring and reporting period will allow customers of energy from waste facilities to understand future costs in line with the commitment in the Resources and Waste Strategy to monitor residual waste capacity.

“I understand that DEFRA officials are currently assessing the planned incinerator capacity against the expected future residual waste arisings so that we can understand what future incineration capacity may be required following key commitments in the Resources and Waste Strategy.

“This further assessment of residual waste treatment capacity needs will be published in due course.”