Melksham City Council supports incinerator shutdown

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MELKSHAM City Council has supported the campaign asking the Secretary of State to ‘recall’ a decision by Wiltshire Council to allow the construction of a ‘carbon emitting’ waste incinerator in Westbury.

The council has agreed to be ‘co-signer’ with other local councils on a letter written by the Wiltshire Climate Alliance to Secretary of State at the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, asking him to review the incinerator decision at the central government level.

The letter highlights the potential risk of a “local jobs crisis” if Arla Foods – which employs 250 people – were to close its Westbury plant; and raises concerns about the incinerator’s impact on climate change and how it fails to support the government’s ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 68% by the end of the decade.

“In fact, here we have a 20th century solution to a 21st century problem, when in reality we have to think of technology that ensures we have a 22nd century,” said Melksham Mayor Jon Hubbard, at last month’s meeting.

“The government has a very clear vision to be zero carbon by 2050, and the Wiltshire Council has launched a very ambitious challenge to define itself as net zero carbon by 2030,” said cllr Tom Price who explained that he believed that the incinerator had “no home”. In the plans to fight against climate change.

City council also supported the Wiltshire Climate Alliance’s concerns about the impact on Arla Foods and its employees.

Cllr Hubbard pointed out that not only 250 jobs are at risk, but also “side jobs” that “depend on Arla’s presence,” including many dairy farms in the area.

“There might be a place for this incinerator, it produces energy, but I think it’s not in the right place,” said cllr Sue Mortimer of the proposed location for the facility. incinerator next to Arla Foods.

“We don’t want it to be near where someone lives,” added manager Pat Aves, who described the incinerator as using “old-fashioned technology.

“Westbury is sufficiently polluted by the traffic passing through the city,” she continued.

However, although it is clear that he opposes the Westbury incinerator project, Cllr Simon Crundell challenged advisers to reflect on how the UK is handling its waste. He pointed out that a percentage of UK waste is exported overseas, which he says ends up on beaches and in the oceans, “poisoning entire ecosystems”.

“We have an environmental and moral responsibility to deal with this waste here in our country,” said Cllr Crundell, “rather than exporting it overseas.”

The building permit for Northacre Renewable Energy’s (NREL) traditional ‘waste energy’ incinerator was granted by the Wiltshire Council strategic planning committee in June. Members voted 7-4.

This despite more than 2,100 written objections and opposition from 18 local councils, including Melksham City Council, and opposition from Arla Foods who warned that the incinerator’s emissions could force the dairy to shut down operations. .

The deadline for letters to Robert Jenrick was Friday July 23. If he decides to appeal the decision – which would be justified by the fact that the proposal is of national importance, rather than just local – an investigation would be carried out by the Planning Inspectorate. The inspector must make a report and recommendation to the Secretary of State under the circumstances existing at the time they do so.


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