MORE than 2,000 signatures have been collected for a petition against a biomass plant being built in north Swindon.

Campaigners needed to gather 1,500 signatures in order to trigger a debate at the next full council meeting on councillors agree with the incinerators in principle.

This number has now been achieved and means councillors at the November 7 meeting will vote in public on whether Swindon wants the incinerators.

The petition was handed to the deputy mayor, Teresa Page, yesterday by residents and ward councillors who had been door knocking across the town for a month.

The campaign was started after energy company Pure Green submitted plans to build a plant to produce animal bedding and energy at the former SquareD Factory, at Cheney Manor Industrial Estate in July.

A planning team deferred a decision on on the plans in August after more than 150 people went to the council chamber to protest.

The directors behind the application have told the council their intention is to push forward with their original plans to burn around 50,000 tonnes of waste wood at the site to produce the specialist animal bedding.

Councillor Des Moffatt, who represents Rodbourne Cheney ward, said he was pleased the council would now make a decision.

“They won’t be voting for or against this application but they will decide on a resolution about whether incinerators should be built here at all,” said Councillor Moffatt. “The petition has been achieved mainly by members of the public who have been working very hard.”

Pure Green also need to be granted a licence from the Environment Agency to let it burn waste wood to provide heat and energy.

The Environment Agency is hosting a two stage consultation process and has set up a web link to enable residents to access information and to comment.

Stage one includes comments on the application being accepted until October 31. Stage two will see a draft permit being sent out for consultation early in the New Year.

Before the planning application can go back in front of the committee at Swindon Council, Pure Green has to host public consultations. It is believed these will take a few months so it is unlikely the plans will go before a committee until at least January.

For more information about the Environment Agency’s consultation visit www.environment-agency.