Extended consultation over controversial proposals by Northacre Renewable Energy Ltd for an incinerator in Westbury until February 21 has been welcomed by South West Wilts MP Dr Andrew Murrison.
The MP wrote to the Environment Agency on December 18 to request the extension citing relevant new briefing material.
He said: “The EA has made the right decision and reflected the high level of public interest in an application which I very much hope is unsuccessful. I would urge people to respond to the consultation by the new deadline.”
In her reply, Emma Baker, Wessex Area Director, Environment Agency wrote: “We are aware that there continues to be a high level of community interest in this application and we are treating it as a Site of High Public Interest. For this reason we decided to extend the minimum four-week statutory consultation period to eight weeks, with a closing date of January 22, allowing enough time for the application to be scrutinised by those with an interest.
“We incorrectly stated that Wiltshire Council, as the planning authority, were the organisation that would consider matters in relation to whether the IED limits adequately protect health and issues covered by national government policy, e.g. the waste hierarchy, when actually these are matters for Government. As soon as we noticed this error we corrected it. It should be noted that the correct information was communicated on three previous occasions in other briefings. The error doesn’t actually affect what we can consider, it just wrongly states which organisation is responsible for issues that we can’t legally consider.”
“I have discussed the matter with the officers dealing with this application, and listened to the feedback from the community. Especially considering the implications of the current national Covid lockdown, we have agreed to extend the consultation by 4 weeks. This means that the new closing date is now 11:59pm on Sunday, February 21.”