Category Archives: Incinerator

Incinerator – update

On January 26th, knowyourleeds wrote: “Coun Ralph Pryke (Lib Dem, Burmantofts and Richmond Hill), voted for the incinerator when the council was in a Lib Dem – Conservative coalition. But he had evidently done his homework asking considered questions.”

Knowyourleeds is happy to correct this statement. Coun Pryke explains in the following: 

On your entry “Councillors hear out plans for incinerator” you state that I “voted for the incinerator” when the council was in a LibDem coalition.

That is a lazy and often-repeated lie about the administration I was a part of by Labour councillors and activists and anti-incinerator campaigners in Richmond Hill who wanted Labour to gain our council seats (it’s well established that if you repeat a believable lie often enough, enough people believe it).

The truth is on the record in Council minutes because every time Labour councillors proposed a white paper (policy motion) or reference back (request to reverse a decision) which specifically attributed an incinerator to the administration, we used our majority to change the motion or wording to support the policy of seeking a waste solution without specifying any particular technology (such as an incinerator).

It was only in Spring 2010 when the last bidder proposing a non-incinerator solution dropped out of the bidding process leaving only three bidders all proposing combinations of material recovery (recycling) and burning waste to make electricity. As far as I can remember, there were no votes on the proposal between then and May, when Labour took over the Council. As you know, Labour continued the policy, despite opposing it for years.

I realise that is a long explanation that’s unlikely to appear in a blog post, but I’d be grateful if you did not repeat the lie about me and my colleagues. A correction would help.

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Councillors hear out plans for incinerator.

In a packed planning meeting, only a handful of councillors directly queired the 25 year incinerator contract. Photo:©knowyourleeds

At the Plans Panel East meeting earlier today, the general message was clear to Veolia.

Under light interrogation, the executives who delivered Veolia’s hour long pre-application planning presentation was told that councillors needed more clarity about the dynamics of the site and the impact of the 75ft chimney to the surrounding area.

“I asked a simple question and they haven’t been able to answer it,” said Coun Michael Lyons (Lab, Temple Newsam). He was adamant throughout the meeting that someone should answer his question.

He wanted someone to explain how the outsourcing of burning household waste on a 25 year contract worth £550m would be cheaper than using a nearby incinerator site run by Biffa.

The site will be 3.3 hectares and 300 metres from the nearest house. Photo:©knowyourleeds

When the environmental impact assessment comes out in April, Veolia will formalise its proposal to take over the former car-boot sale site in Cross Green Market.

Once they’ve submitted their planning permission application, the Plan Panel will decide whether to press ahead. The panel acknowledged they’ll probably extend the usual 16 week turnaround period to come to a conclusion though it looks likely to be passed.

Then the public will have 21 days to have their say before construction begins early next year.

Veolia said 300 jobs would be created for the construction of the 3.3 hectare site. And they’ll need 45 permanent staff when the plant goes into its 24-hour a day operation.

Up to 70 of Veolia’s own dump trucks will bring waste in and out of the plant everyday – the council has around half that many trucks collecting waste – which will pick up the household rubbish we produce directly from bins rather than a central location.

The incinerator will have greenery, cycle routes and a small car-park around the main facility. Veolia’s excutives also talked about a ‘green living wall’ which will have flowers and trees on the side of the buidling. But local residents won’t be able to see it as it only faces the main road, not the houses.

“Can we actually see the photos from the perspective of where the nearest houses will see it?” said Coun Peter Gruen (Lab, Cross Gates and Whinmoor). The nearest home is 300 meters away from the north side of the proposed incinerator.

Coun Ralph Pryke (Lib Dem, Burmantofts and Richmond Hill), voted for the incinerator when the council was in a Lib Dem – Conservative coalition. But he had evidently done his homework asking considered questions.

“In all the documentation I have seen,” said Coun Pryke, “I’ve not seen anything about any payment for the site. Is Veolia paying rent to LCC for use of this site, or are you buying it from the council, or is it in effect free land and that’s why you’ve chosen to build your facility here?”

Veolia said they'll be no smell and minimal amount of chemicals released into the atmosphere as everything is treated in-house. Photo:©knowyourleeds/veolia

John O’Sullivan, Project Director at Veolia said: “Because the facility is essentially paid for by the council, in discussion with the council’s procurement process, it seemed circular, shall we say, for us to pay for the site that in the end we would have to recover that money back from the council.”

Veolia have consistently pointed out that 200,000 tonnes of black-bin waste in Leeds currently goes to landfill and is financially and environmentally unsustainable.

Councillors now have to weigh up how this controversial plant affects residents against the commercial imperatives of burning waste.

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Plans panel to discuss incinerator.

Meeting on Thursday will discuss the report of the Chief Planning Officer and provide details and proposals for the controversial incinerator at Cross Green Market.

Veolia presents its pre-application to the Leeds East Panel on Thursday at 1pm at Civic Hall.

As previously reported on knowyourleeds, the meeting will discuss the proposed incinerator in Cross Green Market. The incinerator – 300 meters from housing – will burn around 150,000 tonnes of Leeds’ black bin rubbish a year and 30,000 tonnes of commercial waste.

Due to its complications and considerable public objections, although the majority of planning decisions are the decided by a solitary senior member, the controversial plans will be decided by all of the council’s 11 Plans Panel (East) members.

No formal decision on the development is due to be made on Thursday, but panel members can ask questions, raise issues, seek clarification and comment on the proposals. Judging by their remarks previously, it should be interesting.

Members of the East Plans Panel are:

You can see the pre-application report of the meeting below:

LCC have said there is no opportunity for public speaking about the proposals outlined in the presentation. However, there are rules to panel meetings which you may want to take note of for future meetings.

All of the following information can be found on their website.

What happens in a panel meeting?

When the application is ready to be considered by the plans panel, if you have commented on the planning application you are informed by letter or email of your right to speak.  An officer will prepare a written report and an officer recommendation (normally for approval with planning conditions, or a refusal with reasons) for each application.

Who can speak?

One objector (or spokesperson for a group of objectors) may speak against the application and one person (usually the applicant or their agent) may speak in reply in support of the application. Each will be allowed three minutes.  Anyone wishing to speak must notify the council of their wish to do at least two clear days prior to the date of the plans panel.

The chair of the panel decides who will speak and allocates an equal time for all parties.

Members of the panel may ask questions and seek clarification of the speakers on any points arising from their presentations.

Once this has been completed the objector/supporter will take no further part in the debate.

Who will be there?

In addition to the members listed above, the council’s legal representative, planning officers and a highway’s officer are also present. Not forgetting the press and Veolia executives.

Opportunity to speak

On arriving the porter will direct you to the room where you register with a member of staff.

It is important to be aware that this is a meeting to which the public are invited. However – unlike a public meeting – dialogue between public speakers and the plans panel members is limited to answering questions asked by the panel.

As the incinerator isn’t the only item they’ll discuss, when this application – or any others for that matter which you’ve commented on – is reached, the planning officer will explain the proposal and plans.

The objector will be asked to speak first by coming forward to the table with a microphone so everyone can hear. The applicant/agent will speak after this.

Conditions of speech

You will only be allowed to speak for three minutes. Prepare for this. Someone else can speak for you if you wish but you they may dismiss you if you stray from the ‘planning matters’ of the case and emphasize or expand the information you have already submitted.

Decisions

As this is a pre-application process these rules won’t apply, but generally the plans panel discusses the application until they reach a decision which are set out in the official minutes of the Panel meeting (published after the meeting).

In some cases the panel will decide to defer a decision until further information is obtained.  Some applications may also be deferred for a ‘site visit’ to allow panel members to visit the site.

All applicants have the right to appeal to the Secretary of State, Teresa May (Cons), if the application is refused or conditions are attached which they think are unreasonable. Third parties have no right of appeal.

Keep an eye on www.leeds.gov.uk/publicaccess to find out about the decision and knowyourleeds.

Will you be going and what do you want answered? Leave a comment and let me know.

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Final say on Leeds Incinerator?

Veolia will enter a 25 year contract next month to dispose of household waste. Photo©knowyourleeds

Veolia looks set to enter into a 25 year contract with Leeds City Council next month to burn Leeds’ household waste. With a £68.6 million Private Finance Initiative buffer, its estimated value is £550 million.

The proposal for the incinerator based at the old car boot sale site in Cross Green Market wasn’t the biggest. But the capacity to burn 180,000 tonnes-a-year meets the council’s requirements.

As head of east Leeds community activist group COVEN, Sarah Covell is angry that councillors and Veolia haven’t done enough to address the resident’s concerns over the plans.

“They’re saying it’s a landmark building. It is. I doubt don’t that for a second. It’s a very beautiful building. It’s just in the wrong place with the wrong things inside it.”

Artist impression of new multi-million pound incinerator

She’s dismayed that a lack of political pluckiness can dismiss widespread concerns, even when something is opposed so openly.

A group of Labour councillors walked out of a vote last November which recommended the incinerator.

“It’s called predetermination,” said one of the absentees, Coun Ron Grahame (Lab, Burmantofts and Richmond Hill). “Predetermination just takes me out of reckoning altogether.

“I’m not allowed to predetermine the situation for the incinerator prior to it coming to the East Leeds plan meeting. That’s why I walked out. I didn’t give in to myself whatsoever.”

It also took Labour councillors: Mick Lyons (Temple Newsam), Katherine Mitchell (Temple Newsam) and Asghar Khan (Burmantofts and Richmond Hill) out of the reckoning.

According to the YEP, landfill taxes would cost the council £16m a year by 2013. “If we don’t deliver on the timescale mapped out we will put this council is financial jeopardy,” said Coun Mark Dobson (Lab: Garforth and Swillington), the council’s executive member for environmental services, reported the YEP.

“It’s definitely in the wrong site. It should have gone to the Aire Valley where it belongs,” said coun Grahame to knowyourleeds.

Councillors across the political spectrum have expressed concerns over incinerator plans. Coun David Blackburn (Greens, Farnley and Wortley) said at the time: “To go for incineration is the worst decision the council has made for years.”

While Coun Stewart Golton (Lib Dem, Rothwell) blogged: “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 proposed facility will create up to 300 jobs during the three-year construction period say Veolia and 45 permanent jobs.

“It’s not local people from East End Park who get the jobs. It’s not just we don’t want this in our ward. We want them [LCC] to look at other methods of residual waste disposal,” said Sarah Covell.

Critics say more recycling options needs to be evaluated. Photo©knowyourleeds

“Somethings gone wrong somewhere,” said Coun Grahame, “the incinerator itself is totally in the wrong place. When they tell you there’s 200 other sites to look at, you look at 200 sites and you think, well it comes down to an old car boot sale site (Cross Green Market) then there’s something not really right.”

Despite these criticisms, Veolia looks set to win the battle. But that’s old news.

The proposals for the incinerator began in 2006 but this week the proposal are open to public scrutiny for the last time.

First stop: Richmond Hill on Thursday, next St Philip’s Church on Friday before finished at 8.30pm, Saturday at Halton Moor Community Centre.

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