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The town of Westbury in Wiltshire, is famous for its White Horse hill figure, it is located at nearby Bratton and is one of many in the county. Like many other hill figures of its ilk, Westbury needs to be maintained on a periodic basis, in order to retain the colour and brightness of the figure. This particular horse is made of concrete, so it turns grey through weathering and discolouration from increasing air pollution.

If current plans go through, it may be that the Westbury figure could require much more frequent cleaning in future, as a waste disposal incinerator is under consideration to the west of the nearby town. In our opinion, such a decision would be environmentally disastrous, and not just for the White Horse. 

The proposed site for the incinerator (based on older technology so even less environmentally friendly than could be the case) is located directly next to one of the largest dairy production plants in the UK, owned by ARLA who produce such brands as Anchor Butter, which proudly displays the Westbury White Horse on its packaging. 

With prevailing westerly winds, there is no doubt that emissions from the incinerator would encroach upon the White Horse to the east of the town  and increase the frequency with which the horse turns grey.  And food production at the ARLA plant would undoubtedly also suffer – possibly to the point of having to close the plant, a major employer in the area.

With the G7 meeting in the UK next month to discuss tackling climate and other declining environment issues, we call upon the government to ‘call in’ this planning decision and stop the further rape of the countryside around Westbury. 

Don’t suffocate the horse! The planning application can be seen here.


May 2021

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