work on a long-anticipated and long-debated recycling plant in East Leeds is all set to start.
The first construction workers began moving onto the Cross Green industrial estate, the site of the £460m incinerator and energy plant, this week.
Ground stabilisation works will be completed by the end of the year and excavation to make way for key parts of the building will start.
The facility will be run by global waste management,firm Veolia for 25 years as part of a PFI deal.
Once operational in 2016, it will process up to 214,000 tonnes of black bin waste a year, slashing around £200 million from landfill costs over the next 25 years.
City bosses say this will help the city to achieve its long-term target of recycling more than 60 percent of its waste.
Locally based people have already been recruited to work on site.
Councillor Mark Dobson, Leeds City Council’s executive member for the environment said: “Following many years of intense hard work, the real physical graft is beginning.
“As well as providing a long-term solution for managing waste, diverting substantial amounts of waste from landfill means we can save an eye-watering amount of money. All of this adds up to a cleaner, greener, more sustainable future for Leeds.”
Paul Fowler, general manager of Veolia Environmental Services, added: “We’re delighted to begin construction so the partnership’s plans to create new employment and training opportunities for local residents can come into fruition. The facility will be a real asset to the city of Leeds.”
The incinerator building itself will be 42 metres high. Rubbish from black bins will be sorted at the site. The energy generated by the facility would be enough to power around 20,000 homes, it is claimed. Veolia and the council are currently investigating how energy from the site could heat homes and other businesses in the area.