New waste incinerator in south-east Leeds discussed at planning

Plans for an incinerator that would burn up to 300,000 tonnes of commercial and industrial waste a year were discussed at a Leeds City Council planning meeting.

Waste management specialists Biffa plans is to build a plant at the site of the former Skelton Grange power station near Stourton that would generate electricity for 52,000 households from burning commercial waste that currently goes to landfill.

No decision on the Biffa application was taken at the meeting, but councillors on the panel were asked to receive a council officer’s report and give initial comments on aspects of the plans such as: landscaping and design (the chimney’s going to be 90m high and visible from all over, for example); air quality and health issues; consultation with local people; and whether the incinerator would fit in with the council’s long-term development plans.

The report says the facility would accept non-hazardous commercial and industrial waste. Should the need arise, the facility would also be able to accept municipal waste.

Access to the facility would be via Skelton Grange Road to the south of the site (from Stourton), using the existing bridge over the River Aire and Aire and Calder Navigation. The applicant is proposing structural improvements to the bridge as part of the proposal, along with improvements to pedestrian and cyclist access.

According to the report – which can be found in full below (we urge you to read it) – Biffa carried out some consultation with local people and groups in the second half of 2010, following the initial publication of its plans.
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Since its formal planning application was advertised last autumn (in the Leeds Weekly News) four letters of objection from the public have been received and one from the Environment Agency, the latter because they’re concerned over the effect the plant’s waste bunker could have on groundwater.

You can see the details of Biffa’s planning application here.  Just type in 11/03705 into the box that says “Application Reference”. And if you want to see the website that Biffa have set up around its plans for Skelton Grange, it’s here.

The residential areas of Halton Moor, Osmondthorpe, Richmond Hill and East End Park are located approximately 1.5km to the north of the site. Stourton lies to the south of the site and river, with Belle Isle and Middleton lying beyond to the southwest, around 2km from the site. Hunslet lies around 1.3km to the west. The northern fringes of Rothwell lie 1.8km to the south.

The listed buildings of Thwaite Mill and Temple Newsam lie some 500m to the west and 2.5km to the north-east respectively.

We received the heads up on this thanks to a post by the excellent Leeds Citizen blog which previewed the meeting – we’ve cribbed some of his report in this post. Sadly there doesn’t seem to have been any coverage of this meeting in the YEP yet. Although the development is technically outside of the geographical area we cover, this is something South Leeds Life will follow more closely in the future as it clearly has implications on where we live. Post your views in the comments below.