Revised plan for 26MW energy-from-waste plant in Wiltshire submitted

Revised plans for an energy-from-waste (EfW) power station that incorporates updated technology and could generate up to 25.6 megawatts have been submitted to Wiltshire Council.

Revised plans for the plant include a change in generating techonology - image: NREL
Revised plans for the plant include a change in generating techonology - image: NREL

The council confirmed it has received a new planning application from Land & Mineral Management, on behalf of Northacre Renewable Energy Limited (NREL), for the Northacre facility in Westbury, between Warminster and Trowbridge.

According to the applicant, the proposed plant will process 243,000 tonnes a year of residual waste from businesses and households every year and could generate up to 25.6 megawatts of power.

The revised plan changes the technology from advanced thermal waste treatment gasification to conventional moving-grate waste combustion, and will be considered by the cross-party strategic planning committee, the council said.

Conditional approval for the previous plant format was previously given in June 2019. But NREL said that it wished to change the technology "primarily due to supply chain uncertainty caused by Brexit", while new regulations mean that gasification facilities no longer offered advantages on the same stringent air quality requirements that new moving grate combustion technologies also need to meet".

An NREL spokesperson added: "Moving grate technology is tried and trusted – it is in use in 90 per cent of the UK's 48 fully operating energy from waste facilities and over 400 EfW facilities across Europe."

The new application will be accompanied by an environmental statement in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations, which will have a 16-week determination period.

NREL is owned by UK power producer Bioenergy Infrastructure Group and Wiltshire-based waste management company The Hills Group. 

NREL undertook a pre-application consultation process, held virtually with local residents and stakeholders, before submitting the renewed application. It now also plans to submit an application to the Environment Agency for an environmental permit to operate the facility.

The application will be open for comment for six weeks rather than the usual three, given the anticipated interest in the case, the council said.

A recent report, which gained cross-party backing, described energy-from-waste technology as the “safest and cheapest” solution to the UK’s residual waste problem, though not the “perfect long-term solution”.

A campaign group, UK Without Incineration Network (UKWIN), opposes all such plants, claiming emissions from them are harmful.

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