Plans for new waste incinerator at Stourton move forward

Plans for an Energy from Waste (EfW) incinerator plant on the site of the old Skelton Grange power stations are set to come to fruition this year, ten years after a planning application was first submitted.

South Leeds Life first reported on plans for such a plant back in February 2012. At that time the scheme was brought forward by Biffa and was seeking planning permission for a plant that would take up to 300,000 tonnes of industrial waste a year. The plant was granted planning permission in September 2013.

Work on the scheme has continued over the years, despite Biffa dropping out. Plans are now moving forward as a joint venture between Wheelabrator and SSE Thermal. The two companies run two similar plants at Ferrybridge near Castleford.

In March 2020, the capacity of the plant was expanded with planning permission granted to extend the amount of waste processed to 410,100 tonnes per year. The plant is expected to produce 45 Megawatts of electricity a year, enough to power 100,000 homes.

In December 2020 the plant was granted permission to operate by The Environment Agency. Under the permit the operators may process up to 410,000 tonnes per year of municipal solid waste, commercial waste, industrial waste, sewage sludge and non-infectious clinical waste. Acceptance of sewage sludge would be limited to a maximum of 15% of the throughput.

Wheelabrator and SSE Thermal have also signed a ten year deal with Associated Waste Management, who have a large materials recovery facility close by on Valley Farm Road in Stourton, to supply refuse derived fuel.

The old coal fired power stations closed in 1983 and 1994 and were subsequently demolished. Skelton Grange Environment Centre which was created by The Conservation Volunteers in 1992 on a corner of the site, will not be directly affected by the new plant, which is to be built on another part of the site.

As well as the plant itself, the plans cover improvements to bridge that carries Skelton Grange Road over the river and canal. As we reported last year, this bridge also carries the transpennine cycle route and footpath, which suffers from a set of narrow steps on the north bank. Work on the bridge presents an opportunity to create a proper ramped access for cyclists and pedestrians.

Wheelabrator claim the facility will create hundreds of new jobs in the construction phase and will employ 40 full-time staff once operational.

Speaking in April 2020, Wheelabrator Technologies UK Managing Director, Julia Watsford said:

“Skelton Grange Multifuel will further improve the UK’s waste-to-energy infrastructure at this critical time –not only will it safely treat waste by-products and divert non-recyclable waste from landfill, it will prevent the need for export of waste to Europe, reduce greenhouse gases, recycle metals that would otherwise go to landfill and generate renewable baseload energy.”


5 Replies to “Plans for new waste incinerator at Stourton move forward”

  1. Whilst the proposed incinerator is probably needed and will be beneficial to the city, is there no room for it in Meanwood, Moor Allerton (beside the RingRoad), Kirkstall or Horsforth? South Leeds is too convenient for this type of development.

  2. The proposed cycling improvements at Skelton Grange bridge would still involve walkers and cyclists having to navigate a bridge with greatly increased flows of lorry traffic. In addition it is doubtful that ramped acess to the bridge would provide access for wheelchair users, mobility scooters and people with disabilities/ long-term health conditions.
    Level access via a dedicated pedestrian/ cycling bridge or a route diversion through Thwaites Mill museum seem to be the only long term solutions to the intractable problems of public access at Skelton Grange Road bridge. Leeds Cycling Campaign is actively campaigning for these changes.

  3. I hope that opportunities will be given to local skilled construction workers on this project.We are finding that overseas companies are awarded contracts who choose to bring in workers from overseas then ring fence the job where there would be no access to local and UK workers.
    The trade union will be hoping to meet with Wheelabrator and use a collective agreement (NAECI) as this was used on Ferrybridge Multi Fuels 1&2 where fair rates of pay & terms and conditions were open and transparent.

  4. Everything gets dumped on south leeds any decisions be it housing or the above are made by councillors who live in west leeds making sure their area keeps its identity and green space whilst south leeds looses its

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