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From Telegraph & Argus, May 26th, 2019
Written by Alistair Shand

A “REMARKABLE” statement by a Government minister is being held up as evidence that the controversial waste-to-energy plant planned for Keighley is not needed. Dr Therese Coffey – Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – told the Commons that “additional residual waste energy capacity above that already planned to 2020 should not be needed if we achieve our recycling targets”. She was responding to a question posed by Keighley MP John Grogan about incineration policy.

Mr Grogan said he “very much welcomed her comment”. “This is a remarkable statement from a Government minister that by implication indicates there is no need for more incinerators like that planned in Keighley, “ he said.

“I shall be following this up, both with her officials and the Environment Agency.

“The case for a moratorium on new incinerators grows stronger.”

Mr Grogan said during the Commons debate that, according to a recent report from an independent consultant, suggestions were that the country would indeed have enough incineration capacity to deal with its residual waste.

And the report warned that if more incinerators were built, there was a danger waste would be diverted away from recycling.

Dr Coffey said she hadn’t seen the document, however she commented: “It is important to say that we are still making progress to ensure we achieve our recycling targets, but incineration by default is certainly not the answer that we want to promote.”

Endless Energy is proposing to build the waste-to-energy facility on a former gas works site alongside the Aire Valley trunk road at Marley.

Planning permission for the scheme was given by Bradford Council, and the Environment Agency is currently considering an application from Endless Energy for an environmental permit.

Opponents of the scheme say it will inflict harmful pollution on the Aire Valley and its surroundings, and will blight the landscape.

But Endless Energy refutes the allegations, arguing that the facility will provide an environmentally-friendly form of energy, while conforming to strict European emissions standards.

In a separate development this week, Mr Grogan said correspondence from Bradford Council had confirmed a difference in the stated location of the proposed stack between what was outlined in the planning documents and in those submitted to the Environment Agency.

Simon Shimbles – who chairs the campaign group Aire Valley Against Incineration – says: “We have been saying for a long time that we have more than enough capacity and it’s folly to build more incinerators, which will drive down recycling rates.

“With regards to the stack, what was granted in the planning application is at odds with the conditions that would have to be fulfilled as outlined in the permit and we are asking Bradford Council to look at this.”

Endless Energy said it did not wish to comment while the permit process was ongoing.

The Environment Agency said consultation on the permit application, which ended in December, had produced “a high volume of responses covering a wide range of issues”.

A spokesperson added: “Our technical experts are now taking these into account alongside their own rigorous assessment of the application to determine whether the proposed facility meets the requirements of UK and European laws on how it will be designed and run so that it does not harm people or the environment.

“Once we have completed our assessment and taken account of all consultation responses, if we intend to issue a permit we will advertise our ‘minded to issue’ draft decision document and draft permit.

“We will then consider any further representations made at that point before a final decision is made on whether or not to grant a permit.”