Wiltshire votes against Northacre EfW

Wiltshire council announced last week (27 July) that its planning committee rejected an application from Northacre Renewable Energy Ltd in relation to its energy from waste facility in Westbury.

Wiltshire council voted against approving the planning application last week

This comes despite a report which went before the council’s committee recommending the council approve the facility on the grounds it will process waste currently being exported abroad.

Wiltshire added that the final decision about whether to grant planning permission will now pass to an independent planning inspector acting on behalf of the secretary of state.

This is because Northacre, a joint venture between the Bioenergy Infrastructure Group and the Hills Group, lodged an appeal against the local authority’s failure to determine the application within an agreed timeframe in June.

Background

The latest dispute comes following a series of committee meetings spanning seven years. Planning permission was originally granted for a gasification plant in 2015. Northacre then applied to alter the technology to moving grate combustion in 2018, which was turned down before being accepted last year.
After approving the plant, the council decided to again review the decision in 2022 to see if any legislative changes in the past year would have changed this decision.

In April, Wiltshire’s council planning committee adjourned its decision on whether to permit the facility until July, while it was awaiting the outcome of government consultation (see letsrecycle.com story).

After this, in June, the Environment Agency issued an environmental permit to the company following the Agency’s public consultation over the draft permit issued in March (see letsrecycle.com story).

Refusal

After meeting last week (27 July), the council said that the committee was minded to refuse the application based on the grounds that it does not represent a “sustainable development”.

Cllr Howard Greenman, chair of the strategic planning committee, said: “The committee has now considered the application three times and has made a democratic decision based on the evidence presented before it and the expert advice of officers.”

The plant was planned to treat up to 243,000 tonnes annually, with the waste secured primarily from commercial and industrial sources and with just over 20% of the throughput being local authority collected waste from Wiltshire, the report read.

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