Thousands of households in Leeds could be heated by the rubbish they throw away under plans being considered by councillors.
As reported previously, energy produced from the giant new incinerator currently being built in Cross Green is due to help provide electricity for 22,000 homes.
Now proposals have been drawn up to generate heat from the £550million facility, known officially as the Leeds Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility (RERF).
Coun Mark Dobson, Leeds City Council’s executive member for communities, said: “We’re taking an important step as we continue to work to reduce fuel poverty and emissions in the city. Harnessing the heat from the Cross Green facility would mean we can help some of the most vulnerable people in the city while making Leeds cleaner and greener.”
Construction started last September on the former outdoor market site.
Up to 150,000 tonnes of Leeds’s annual black bin waste will be sent there.
Recyclable materials will be removed and the remainder will be incinerated.
According to a report for the council’s sustainable economy scrutiny board, more than 2,000 flats in parts of the city where fuel poverty is most widespread could have their heat supplied during the first phase of the scheme.
The report said it was hoped this would pave the way “for a wider district heating network that can be developed in the future”.
It added that the plan was cost-effective “as the heat generated is likely to be worth more than the sacrificed electricity”.
The Green Party in Leeds, which opposed the idea of the incinerator, said its use should be maximised now that the project is going ahead.
Spokesman Martin Hemingway said: “We should make the most of its value, and one part of that is going to be in terms of how it could be used for area heating .”