Two waste burning plants to be mile apart

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Two multi-million-pound incinerators designed to burn Leeds’s rubbish will be built a mile apart.

Members of the City Plans Panel yesterday voted in favour of the waste-burning facilities at the former Skelton Grange power station and former Cross Green market sites in east Leeds.

Together they will handle all of the city’s residential and commercial waste as the council prepares to put an end to burying rubbish in landfill.

Operators Veolia, who won the tender for the LCC-owned Cross Green site last year, has designed a £460m plant to receive all residential rubbish collected from the city’s black bins – up to 214,000 tonnes a year.

Biffa, for the Skelton Grange site, plans to build a facility that will accept 300,000 tonnes of non-hazardous commercial and industrial residual waste each year.

Both operators say they will recycle what they can, and create energy and heat from the waste that is burned.

Currently the council is fined £73 per tonne of rubbish that ends up in landfill, and that figure is set to increase by £7 a tonne year-on-year.

Community campaigners accused councillors of being driven by financial pressures, and highlighted local concerns about the health implications of having two incinerators located close to people’s homes.

The nearest residential properties to the Veolia incinerator are just 600m away in East End Park and Richmond Hill. Halton Moor is 1km away to the north east with Halton 1.5km away in the south-west. And Halton Moor, Osmondthorpe, Richmond Hill and East End Park are located 1.5km to the north of the Biffa site.

But Dr Simon Balmer, head of health protection for NHS Leeds, said toxic emissions from either plant would have a “very small” or “unmeasurable impact” on health.

Tim Shaw for the Environment Agency (EA) said his officers would monitor emissions and conduct monthly visits to both plants. Both operators will have to notify the EA if they breach agreed limits.