As many residents in the North of my constituency will now be aware, Wheelabrator, a waste to energy production company, have started the pre-application process for a new incinerator between Barton Stacey and Longparish.

The proposals, with chimney stacks reaching almost as high as Salisbury Cathedral’s spire, have caused enormous concern among local residents and I wholeheartedly share many of the concerns which have been raised. I attended a public meeting in Barton Stacey a few weeks ago and this weekend I will be attending a further meeting in Longparish.

I also invited representatives from Wheelabrator to my office last week for an in depth discussion of their plans. Unfortunately there was a definite theme to the meeting along the lines of ‘more information will be available when the application is submitted’ – which was disappointing. If pre-application consultation is going to be meaningful I do think it needs to involve a willingness to divulge important details. Whilst I was informed that the current proposals represent the absolute maximum size of any potential site, I remain concerned about the shear size of this enormous building in what is a very rural setting. I will be registering as in “interested party” with the Planning Inspectorate in due course and I would encourage residents in the immediate vicinity to do the same.

I also had a meeting with Openreach regarding the continuing lack of broadband coverage in the constituency. Many of us will know at least one family who ought to be able to connect to the superfast network but still can’t and I raised this with senior managers who have pledged to look at what more can be done to give rural parts of my constituency 21st century infrastructure. I will update residents again once Openreach have responded to these concerns.