400 jobs could be created at waste plant

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More than 400 jobs could be created if councillors back a bid to build a £120m waste management scheme near a former gas works.

The Halton Group wants to build three plants to recover energy from waste on the site east of the former gas works on Airedale Road, Keighley.

Members of Bradford Council’s Regulatory and Appeals Committee will be advised to give the scheme planning permission when they meet on Thursday. The development, which would also include materials reception and feedstock building, offices, an education/visitor centre, parking and landscaping, would treat residual commercial and industrial waste and generate energy.

It is expected to create about 300 jobs during construction and would employ 79 people directly during the operation of the facility and 99 within the office complex.

The scheme, which lies within 500m of the Grade I listed East Riddlesden Hall, would export enough electricity to the National Grid to meet the domestic needs of about 20,000 homes per year – the equivalent of providing energy to 90 per cent of the calculated residual electricity requirement for Keighley.

Keighley Parish Town Council is backing the development but it has come under fire from nearby residents who have raised fears about noise, pollution and the facility’s impact on air quality, the local landscape and nearby green belt area. There are concerns about its impact on a local care home.

The National Trust, which manages East Riddlesden Hall, has also objected.

But a report to councillors says that the waste plants will “generate electricity for the wider grid network, divert waste from landfill and provide buildings of architectural quality in what is one of the main gateways into Keighley, undoubtedly regenerating what is a brownfield site.”

It adds: “The effect of the proposal on the surrounding locality, Grade I listed East Riddlesden Hall and residential properties has been assessed and, on balance is considered acceptable, and provides public benefits that outweighs the harm.”