SOUTH West Wiltshire MP Dr Andrew Murrison has urged the Government to call in plans for a £200 million new waste incinerator at Westbury.

His request was made today - only seven days before Wiltshire Council is due to decide a planning application for the scheme.

Dr Murrison wrote to the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government to request that Northacre Renewable Energy Ltd’s proposed incinerator in Westbury be called in by the Secretary of State.

Wiltshire Council is due to decide next Tuesday whether to give NREL planning permission to change the technology for the energy-from-waste facility from advanced thermal treatment to moving grate combustion.

Committee documents published in advance of Tuesday’s meeting state: "the recommendation is, subject to the Secretary of State determining that he does not want to call in the application for his determination, to grant planning permission subject to conditions.

“In the event of the committee supporting the recommendation, the planning permission will not be issued until the application has been referred to the Secretary of State for his consideration as to whether it should be called-in for his determination. In the event of the committee making a different decision the referral process will not apply.”

Dr Murrison says that, as an infrastructure proposal of national significance, the Secretary of State can exercise his prerogative to decide whether permission is granted.

The MP added: “In my view another carbon-belching incinerator would be contrary to the Government’s intentions on climate change, the environment and waste – particularly important in this COP26 year.

“High quality employer Arla doesn’t want an incinerator next door. I don’t want a trademark Westbury company deciding to quit because of a threat to the integrity of its dairy products from pollutants.”

Wiltshire Council granted NREL planning approval in 2019 for the incinerator. The Environment Agency has asked the company for more information before deciding its operating licence application.

Together with Dr Murrison, around 16 town and parish councils and hundreds of locals have objected strongly on grounds of an increase in traffic and potentially toxic pollutants being emitted that could harm public health.

Wiltshire Council’s own climate team also objected on the grounds of the carbon impact on nearby housing and factories.

NREL, a joint venture between Swindon-based Hills Group and Bioenergy Infrastructure Group,says the facility would address the pressing need for a sustainable long-term solution to non-recyclable waste in Wiltshire.