Leeds: £550m city incinerator plan a step closer UPDATED

Yorkshire Evening Post report By Sam Casey. Published on Wednesday 12 October 2011 08:07

Plans to build an incinerator in Leeds capable of burning 180,000 tonnes of rubbish a year have taken a step forward.

Officials at Leeds City Council have chosen the company they want to see build the 125m-long, 42m-high recycling and energy recovery facility – nicknamed “the greenhouse” – in Cross Green.

The council’s executive board will be asked to rubber-stamp the selection of the firm, Veolia, at a meeting next month.

Coun Mark Dobson, executive member for environmental services, said: “Continuing to send rubbish to rot in the ground is not an option.

“It’s not good for the climate and it costs the city millions in landfill taxes which are rising each year.”

The private finance initiative (PFI)-funded incinerator, on the former Cross Green Market site at Pontefract Lane, would be designed to virtually eliminate the rubbish Leeds sends to landfill.

Leeds currently recycles 40 per cent of waste but 200,000 tonnes goes to landfill.

The new facility would have the capacity to process 180,000 tonnes of rubbish a year, but it is anticipated only 164,000 tonnes would be burned – with the rest being recycled.

The council said the cost of building and running the project – £550m over 25 years – was £200m less than the council would have to pay in landfill taxes.

It would also help meet the target of recycling half of all waste by 2020.

The cut in carbon dioxide emissions as a result of the reduction in landfill would be equivalent to taking 29,000 cars of the road each year.

And it would produce enough electricity to power 20,000 homes.

The building would be a glass-sided, wooden framed structure with a “living green wall” of plants and viewing galleries for the public to see how it works.

Neil Evans, the council’s director of environmental services, said: “While we believe we can increase our recycling, we also believe without this residual waste facility we would have to continue to send thousands of tonnes to landfill.”

Subject to all the necessary approvals, building would start in 2013, with an opening date of 2015 or early 2016.

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