1. What is the Northacre Renewable Energy Project?

Northacre Renewable Energy is proposing an advanced thermal treatment facility to be located in Northacre Industrial Park in Westbury, Wiltshire. If granted permission, the facility will turn non-recyclable waste into renewable energy with the capacity to power up to 46,000 homes.

2. Who is behind Northacre Renewable Energy project?

The Hills Group is the founder of Northacre Renewable Energy. The Hills Group is a company proud to serve the local community, that has been doing so for over 118 years when it first started as a family business. Since then, Hills has grown to become one of Wiltshire’s biggest employers with over 650 staff.

Northacre Renewable Energy Limited is a company formed by The Hills Group working with investment partners.

3. What are the main benefits of the project?

The advanced thermal treatment facility will:
• Generate up to 25.50MW of electricity to contribute to the UK energy market
• Potentially use the renewable heat generated by the facility to support local industry and reduce carbon emissions
• Create permanent jobs for over 40 local people, and over 150 additional jobs during construction
• Recover energy from materials which are not suitable for recycling – putting waste to good use
• Prevent the need to transport Wiltshire’s non-recyclable waste elsewhere in the UK and to Europe cutting 2000 lorry movements per year.
• Reduce the overall environmental impact of Wiltshire’s non-recyclable waste by reducing the amount going to landfill and cutting the number of long distance lorry journeys required
• Cut the costs of Wiltshire tax payers and businesses by reducing the transportation of non-recyclable waste to elsewhere around the UK and Europe
• Provide a long term, sustainable solution to Wiltshire’s waste
• Vitrified slag recovered from the facility can be reused in the construction industry

4. Why choose the Northacre site?

The site was chosen as it sits on an industrial park next to Hills’ mechanical biological treatment plant that can supply material into this new facility. Placing an advanced thermal treatment facility here will ensure that Wiltshire’s waste remains in Wiltshire, saving transport costs and reducing environmental impacts.

5. What will be the site’s operating hours?

The facility will generate renewable energy 24 hours a day.
However, materials will only be delivered to site six days per week (excluding bank holidays):
Monday to Friday 07.00 – 22.00
Saturday 07.00 – 17.00
Every effort will be taken to reduce any impacts or disruption from the facility while it is operational.

6. How many jobs will be created?

It is expected that the plant will create over 150 jobs during construction and will be able to offer local people 40 permanent full time jobs once completed.

7. Will the new facility affect air quality?

Air quality has been carefully considered in the project’s proposals. The emissions from the facility will be within the legal limits set by the Industrial Emissions Directive which are monitored and enforced by the Environment Agency.
A thorough Air Quality Impact Assessment (AQIA) has been conducted and it shows that the impacts of emissions to atmosphere will be of minor significance to the air quality in the area.
Once operational, there will also be 24/7, 365 days a year, air quality monitoring to meet the strict legal limits monitored and enforced by the Environment Agency and to ensure that emissions never exceed approved and appropriate levels.

8. Will the facility create a smell or noise?

We want to reduce as much impact to the local community as possible. Noise will be managed through the building’s design, as the waste reception area will be enclosed in a building, while other elements of the facility will also help to contain sound. Noise modelling has concluded that any impact to surrounding properties will be negligible.
The facility has also been carefully designed to control odour. As well as containing operational areas within a building, there will also be a ventilation system maintaining buildings under negative pressure and an odour treatment system in place for periods when the facility is on shutdown.

9. Will the facility increase traffic in town?

During peak hour on the A350 there will be just four additional HGV movements, three of which will travel north and one south through Westbury.
The impact on the Air Quality Management Area in Westbury will be unnoticeable, with one additional HGV movement every 1.4 hours on average.

Overall, the project will offset the amount of lorries that will be driving Wiltshire’s non-recyclable waste to landfill sites and to Europe. To reduce traffic further we will be working with local authorities to create a travel plan to encourage employees and visitors to use public transport, walk or cycle whenever possible.

10. Why are these plans being brought forward again?

As a local business, The Hills Group is aware that Wiltshire needs a measure to establish a sustainable long term solution for Wiltshire’s waste, to prevent the region’s non-recyclable waste being landfilled or transported long distances in the UK and to Europe.
The advanced thermal treatment facility can provide that long term solution, by turning non-recyclable waste into valuable renewable power that would otherwise be lost.
We already have planning permission to deliver an advanced thermal treatment facility at Northacre Industrial Park, but we have brought revised proposals forward because the latest technology allows us to make the facility more efficient and more sustainable. We have listened to members of the Strategic Planning Committee, and have sought to reduce the visual impact of the facility.
The proposal we have submitted is the best option for Wiltshire tax payers and businesses, it is a substantial improvement on the application which has already been approved and can address the pressing need for a sustainable solution which puts waste to good use.

11. What part of the proposals have changed?

As the previous revisions to the approved facility created a lot of local interest, we have taken the public and stakeholders’ views into consideration and revised the plans further. The new proposals to revise the existing consent now include:
• using more efficient technology which will generate more renewable electricity
• reconfiguring the buildings to allow for more efficient operations, maintenance and to improve the safety of the facility
• lowering the height of buildings to reduce visual impact
• changing the building’s cladding to improve how the facility looks

12. What is gasification and why is it different to incineration?

Gasification and incineration are different.
Incineration burns waste at a high temperature. In the right location this can be a cost effective and environmentally appropriate solution for waste, which is also able to generate renewable energy.
Gasification however, treats waste at extremely high temperatures, which turns the waste material into a gas, and this gas is then combusted. The result is that the process produces lower levels of emissions. Gasification is used successfully and safely to produce renewable energy from waste in large plants in the UK, Europe, the USA and Japan.

13. Will the project dissuade people and businesses from recycling?

No. We are committed to a strategy which focusses on increasing recycling. We work closely with Wiltshire Council, local communities and businesses to achieve those goals.
However, the simple truth is that there are some materials which cannot be recycled. At the moment this waste is transported by lorry across the county to landfill sites or across the country or even sent to Europe for disposal. This is not a sustainable long term solution, and we would much rather put this non-recyclable waste to good use by generating renewable energy and benefiting from this in Wiltshire.

14. Will it encourage the use and disposal of plastics?

No. The use and disposal of plastics is a big issue facing the UK. There is a need to find alternatives to plastic, better ways of recycling it and more use for recycled material. We are keen to play our part in this process and the Northacre facility has its role by putting waste which cannot be recycled to good use.