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Leading Wiltshire Lib Dems Urge Wiltshire Council to Back Green Technology and Reject Waste Incinerator

September 24, 2020 3:15 PM
By Ed Sawyer in Wiltshire Times
Leading Wiltshire Lib Dems are calling for a planning application from Northacre Energy to build a Waste Incinerator near Westbury to be withdrawn or thrown out and the Council to back green technology to boost recycling instead.

Wiltshire Lib Dems Environment and Climate Emergency spokesperson, Councillor Dr Brian Mathew is calling on Northacre Renewable Energy Ltd to withdraw their application to build a waste incinerator near Westbury.

The call comes as part of the Lib Dem campaign for a green economic recovery plan to help the County bounce back from the Covid 19 crisis.

"I proposed the resolution that was adopted by Wiltshire Council to recognise the climate emergency. It committed our County to being carbon neutral by 2030.

"Its beggar's belief that the current Council's Conservative leadership now seem be backing Northacre Energy's plans to build a massive waste incinerator at Westbury.

"This is out of date and polluting technology. It would generate in the region of a quarter of a million tonnes of CO₂ each year and lock the County into it for the next 25 years. More than 60% of the waste material burnt by this incinerator will be transported into Wiltshire by road and rail creating more congestion, pollution and environmental damage.

"This incinerator and the transportation it needs to bring in waste, will blow a huge hole in the Wiltshire Council aspiration of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

Indeed, all of Wiltshire's current solar farms displace around 236,000 tonnes of CO₂ annually. That means they will not even equal the damage of this incinerator."

"And it is not just the climate and environment that will be hit by the emissions from this incinerator if it goes ahead.

"Incinerators like this push into the air tonnes of very small highly toxic particles that drift on the wind for miles. They are a real threat to air quality and are a growing cause for concern to scientists, doctors and public health specialists alike as to their impact on human health." said Dr Mathew

"Yet there is an environmentally sound alternative right on our own doorstep that can deal effectively with non-recyclable plastics which make up much of the waste. The Swindon based firm Recycling Technologies Ltd are just installing their first local authority sized commercial plant. This takes waste plastics such as film, crisp packets, plastics with food waste, coloured plastics, laminates and much more and returns it back to the valuable oils they were made from. This is done without any significant CO₂ emissions or pollution.

"A Recycling Technologies plant like the first one going up in Scotland, should be being built in Wiltshire. It could take pretty much all of the plastics that are currently unable to be mechanically recycled. Taking these out of the local waste stream would make total recycling possible in Wiltshire" said Dr Mathew.

Two years ago, Dr Mathew and his fellow Wiltshire Councillors Gavin Grant and Ross Henning visited Recycling Technologies to see their prototype plant in Swindon.

Lib Dem shadow Wiltshire Council spokesperson on Finance and Economic Development Gavin Grant commented:

"To see Wiltshire effectively lock itself into an out of date, climate damaging and polluting technology for the next 25 years, with all the CO₂ and poor air quality resulting, makes absolutely no sense. We need to see a green economic recovery and investment in sustainable technology and green jobs, not this abomination.

I seconded Dr Mathew's resolution in February 2019 to acknowledge the Climate Emergency and to take effective action to avert it.

Backing this incinerator and failing to support Recycling Technologies Ltd are both an abdication of responsibility. This plan must be dropped and replaced by a serious commitment to responding to the climate emergency, total recycling and clean air in our County."

Wiltshire Lib Dem Councillor for Westbury Gordon King also opposes the incinerator. He added "The building of this incinerator and its operation will clog local roads, pollute our air and damage the environment we all enjoy in and around Westbury and right across Wiltshire. If the company will not withdraw their plan, then I trust our Councillor colleagues will have the good sense to throw it out. Westbury deserves better than this incinerator."