Behind the scenes meetings took place at the Civic Officers on Thursday 22 August between developers who want to build a wood burning incinerator at Cheney Manor industrial estate and Swindon councillor Des Moffatt and North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson.
The decision whether to permit construction of a biomass plant put forward by Pure Green, a new company set up by Belgian animal bedding manufacturer Hippofan, was deferred at Swindon Council’s planning committee on 13 August after an estimated 200 people attended the meeting to express their objections.
Well over 600 people are now following the campaign about the biomass project on Facebook.
Pictured, the animal bedding, wood chips and pellets to be burnt in the Swindon incinerator presented as evidence at the meeting
The aim of the meeting was to discuss Hippofan’s intentions and to put to them that withdrawal from the planning application could be the least expensive and problematic from a public relations point of view. Hippofan brought examples of the material that would be processed and burnt in the Cheney Manor plant.
After the meeting Cllr Des Moffat, who chaired the meeting, said: “Hippofan came to the discussion with a compromise to use wood that is not contaminated by waste or having been ‘added to,’ such as containing glues or laminates. They then argued they could only use virgin wood in their incineration process.
“I and Justin Tomlinson MP explained to Hippofan that the campaign had gone too far and if they are set on pursuing their planning application they would come up against even more opposition. We made it clear this is not the usual suspects objecting to their proposal. Apart from hundreds of residents, the business community in Cheney Manor has raised objections to the processing that would take place at the plant and the considerable increase in traffic on already overcrowded road. Local schools are also very concerned about the implications of pollution.
“We left Hippofan under no illusion that their plan is tainted and pursuing it would be both costly in financial terms and also their public relations.”
Justin Tomlinson MP said he supported the considerable objections to the project. “Cllr Des Moffatt rightly organised a meeting for us to make it absolutely crystal clear to Hippofan that they would face a well organised and constructive opposition so there would be no point progressing.
“They have promised to reflect on the discussion. We very much hope they will do the right thing and not proceed.”