Leeds: Growth in recycling ‘could leave incinerator to stand idle’

BURNING ISSUE: Incinerator plans such as the one propsed for Cross Gates in Leeds provoke a large public outcry.
BURNING ISSUE: Incinerator plans such as the one propsed for Cross Gates in Leeds provoke a large public outcry.
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Environmental groups have warned plans to build a £460m incinerator in Leeds will be a “huge waste of public money” as increased recycling will mean less waste to burn.

Friends of the Earth is currently fighting the plan for Pontefract Lane, Cross Green, as well as proposals for similar plants in Harrogate, Bradford and South Yorkshire.

Yesterday the group claimed an existing incinerator in Sheffield was already under capacity, demonstrating the “fundamental problem” with building more burners in the region.

Simon Bowens, Friends of the Earth’s Yorkshire campaigner, said the Sheffield site is run by Veolia, which has been chosen by Leeds Council to build its new waste facility.

He added: “Sheffield recently moved from weekly to fortnightly bin collections and this has seen recycling grow. This means Veolia now has to bring in more waste from elsewhere.

“It demonstrates the huge contradiction in the way councils are dealing with waste. Ambitious recycling targets just don’t fit together with proposals for massive waste burners.

“It stands to reason that if existing incinerators are already under capacity the problem will get worse as more are built, like the ones proposed for Leeds and elsewhere in Yorkshire.

“If you are building them here, there and everywhere you can’t get enough waste to feed the beast and in the end at least some will stand idle.”

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Opponents of the Leeds incinerator say the council should not have signed a contract with Veolia because planning permission and environmental permits have not yet been granted for the site.

Campaign group No Incinerator Leeds (NIL), Temple Newsam councillors and MP George Mudie also maintain the plant will be too close to local homes.

Council waste bosses said the incinerator was needed to address the city’s increasing bill for landfill, which was £9.2m last year and is set to grow by £1.5m annually.

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