Plans for controversial Westbury incinerator approved by council
Watch Caron Bell's report
Wiltshire Council has today approved highly controversial plans for a giant waste incinerator on the outskirts of Westbury.
The plant will generate electricity by burning thousands of tonnes of rubbish a year.
Currently, the council disposes of 223,000 tonnes of waste every year. Nearly half is recycled, but much of the rest is either sent to landfill or sent abroad to be incinerated.
The Northacre Energy From Waste Facility will operate 24 hours a day and generate enough electricity to power 54,000 homes.
But many local people are deeply unhappy about the decision to approve it - worried about its emissions, and the increase in lorry traffic.
Public Health England says that modern, regulated incinerators are not a significant risk to public health, and that any potential effect for people living close by is likely to be very small.
A spokesperson for PHE said: "PHE’s risk assessment remains that modern, well-run and regulated municipal waste incinerators are not a significant risk to public health.
"While it is not possible to rule out adverse health effects from these incinerators completely, any potential effect for people living close by is likely to be very small.
"This view is based on detailed assessments of the effects of air pollutants on health and on the fact that these incinerators make only a very small contribution to local concentrations of air pollutants."
The government has also thrown its weight behind waste incinerators - there are now 48 in the UK, including the equally controversial Javelin Park near Gloucester.
It argues they're less polluting than putting waste in landfill, or carting it off to Europe to be incinerated.
But many people, including some prominent environmental charities, dispute these claims, and think incinerators are a giant step in the wrong direction.