8 February 2013

Approval given for two incinerators in Leeds

Leeds city council has granted planning permission for two multi-million pound energy-from-waste incinerators in the city.

The councils planning committee yesterday (February 7) approved plans for Veolia Environmental Services to build a energy-from-waste (EfW) plant to treat household waste, and also gave the green light to Biffa to build an EfW facility to treat commercial and industry waste.

Artist's impression of Veolia's proposed EfW in Leeds

Artist’s impression of Veolia’s proposed EfW in Leeds

The Veolia facility is being proposed under the companys 25-year, 460 million contract with the city council which was signed in November 2012 (see letsrecycle.com story).

The facility will be located on the Cross Green industrial estate and will include mechanical pre-sorting. It will have the capacity to process around 214,000 tonnes per year of household waste, with the ERF capable of producing around 11.6MW of electricity for the national grid.

A spokesman for Veolia called the decision a major step forward.

However the facility has attracted some controversy, with the planning application prompting more than 300 objections from residents and campaign groups.

The council also granted planning permission to Biffa to construct an energy recovery incinerator at Stourton on the site of the former Skelton Grange power station. The Biffa facility has been designed to accept up to 300,000 tonnes of commercial and industrial waste per year and produce 26MW of electricity for the national grid enough to power around 52,000 homes.

It is anticipated that Biffas Skelton Grange facility will create around 40 jobs as well as a further 300 jobs for the duration of the construction period. According to the companys planning application, the investment value for the facility is between 200 and 300 million.

Jeff Rhodes, company planning and permitting manager at Biffa, said: We are pleased that the strength of the scheme and the site have been recognised and will now look ahead to plan the next steps.

Cross Green

All of Leeds black bin household waste will be sorted at Veolias Cross Green facility to remove metal, paper, cardboard and plastics for recycling. Leftover waste will be burned under tightly controlled conditions to produce energy.

In total, 320 members of the public raised objections to the plans in writing as individuals or as part of campaign groups, including Save Our Houses, Friends of the Earth, No2Incinerator and No Incineration Leeds. Concerns were raised about the impact on public health and the sustainability of incinerating waste at the facility.

Commenting on the Cross Green site planning decision, Leeds city councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for the environment, said: This decision has been years in the making and the level of scrutiny provided by panel members demonstrates just how important the incinerator is to the city.

“This is a major step forward in delivering a long term waste management solution for Leeds”

Robert Hunt, Veolia E S

He added: Ive said frequently that we cant afford to continue to bury waste in the ground on financial or environmental grounds. Alongside other improvements to our waste services, this is a significant milestone in enabling us to recycle as much as we can. With the final discussions set to get underway, were confident the end result will be a facility that will allow us to realise our ambitions for a cleaner, greener Leeds.

Robert Hunt, Veolia E.S. executive director, said: This is a major step forward in delivering a long term waste management solution for Leeds. We firmly believe that the proposed facility at Cross Green offers the right location and the right technology for the city.

He added: Our primary aim is to minimise the amount of waste sent to landfill a response to both cost and environmental pressures. The construction and operation of a single well-located facility offers the best financial and environmental solution for the local authority and the local taxpayer.

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