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Leeds incinerator u-turn criticised

by stewartgolton on 11 October, 2011

Leeds City Council has today selected its preferred bidder to build an incinerator in East Leeds.
Veolia will build a plant capable of processing 183,000 tonnes of waste a year on the old markets site at Cross Green. The council’s Exec Board will be asked to formally appoint Veolia as the council’s partner in the project when it meets in November.
The Council began its search for a firm to provide a solution for disposing of its waste in 2006, as landfill taxes were set to cost the Council more to handle its waste. It became clear that the best value bidders all included ‘Energy from Waste’ in their solutions, and the Council whittled down considered sites for the new plant to just two in the Aire Valley to the east of the city.

Liberal Democrat group leader Cllr Stewart Golton (Rothwell), expressed surprise at the decision given the ruling administration’s policy of opposition to incineration on any site in Leeds. He claimed the decision was a u-turn.

Cllr Stewart Golton said:
‘Labour candidates campaigned over several years against building an incinerator in the Aire Valley. Since taking power 18 months ago, the Labour Party have been very quiet on their waste policy. I assumed they were working hard on an alternative. Imagine my surprise that their alternative to an incinerator is…an incinerator!’
‘The Labour leader Keith Wakefield promised a local referendum on Incineration in 2008, and Labour candidates now elected in Burmantofts, Temple Newsam and Rothwell told local residents a vote for them was a vote against incineration. Although there was a lot of talk about potential dangerous emissions, I have been informed that no extra safety specifications have been asked for since the project passed to the new Labour administration, so I assume those concerns have now evaporated.’

The Liberal Democrats believe that circumstances have changed so significantly, that the Council should step back and reconsider whether its first priority should be to build an incinerator of its own.

‘People tell us that they want to recycle as much as possible. The collection of food waste is a roaring success in Rothwell, and if spread to the rest of the city could make significant improvements to our recycling performance.’

At the same time the commercial operator, Biffa has plans to build their own Energy from Waste’ facility in the Aire Valley. Although intended to cater for commercial waste, they have already stated that they have the capacity to handle the city’s domestic waste. Questions are being asked whether a second incinerator is therefore even necessary.

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2 Responses

  1. […] the project from Friends of the Earth, local campaigning group No Incineration in Leeds (NIL) and Liberal Democrat members of the […]

  2. […] Stewart Golton (Lib Dem: Rothwell) blogged: “Since taking power 18 months ago, the Labour Party have been very quiet on their waste policy. […]

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