A ‘store wars’ battle has hotted up as a recycling company, which could lose its home of a century to a supermarket, has revealed its own £6 million investment in renewable fuel plan which could create 200 jobs.
The boss of recycling firm Crossley Evans wants to introduce new technology at its site in Shipley which would be capable of supplying 10,000 tonnes of wood pellets per month to power stations by rail.
He hopes his plans will thwart rival proposals to build a supermarket on the site his company has leased for 100 years.
“This is crucial to the future of the company and significant to the future of Shipley, and in particular levels of employment in Shipley,” said Matthew Evans.
“Everybody here is excited, inevitably what a lot of the staff here understand is more of the less-sophisticated side of recycling. As a recycler, we’re more sophisticated than most, but this is taking it to quite a high technical level.
“The people we’ve spoken to so far are excited about it, and also about being a forward-thinking business.”
Mr Evans said his company has been working on its biomass diversity plan for about two years and has had informal talks with representatives of a Yorkshire-power company.
Crossley Evans already supplies 50 tonnes of wood a month to a biomass firm which turns it into wood pellets and supplies power stations.
The aim is to collect wood from sites across the district, which would go through five processing stages in a new building, to be turned into wood pellets suitable for burning to produce energy. Those pellets would be taken by rail, four days a week, to a power station .
If Bradford Council approves Crossley Evans’ plans, the hope is to expand within six to 18 months.
The firm is also looking at supplying local homes or new developments – which could push the level of investment to £10 million – creating 200 jobs over three years.
Mr Evans said: “We’d consider supplying locally. There’s schemes where biomass is used to supply large scale municipal schemes and we would be looking to do that. One of our main intentions is to make sure we’re part of the local economy,” Mr Evans said.
But the Otley Road site, which includes a railhead, is subject to another planning application. Land owner Network Rail and DB Schenker Rail (UK), with GMI Developments, has applied to build a supermarket, cafe, petrol station, business units and rail maintenance depot on the land.
If that plan is approved, Network Rail would give notice to Crossley Evans to move from its home. However, Mr Evans remains optimistic that he can secure tenure of the site.
“This is a plan that we’ve had for two years, but we put it on hold when we were informed of the landlord’s desire to use the land for other uses,” Mr Evans said.
He said the company’s plans for expansion were relevant to the Council when making any decision and so re-visited the project three months ago and has now submitted a planning application.
“It’s a key element in our expansion and support of businesses within the Aire Valley and West Yorkshire,” he said.
“Not only will we be able to provide a source of recycling in whatever form companies need, but we’re going as far as showing that recycling is supplying power into the national grid.”
A spokesman for Network Rail said: “We lease the land at Otley Road to DB Shenker which is in commercial negotiations with GMI Development regarding development of the site.
“We are not aware of any plans by the current tenant, Crossley Evans, to expand its business; however as a consultee of any planning applications concerning the land we will consider any further applications for the site when they are submitted.”
- Biomass usually comes from plants or trees and is classed as the fourth energy source after oil, coal and gas.
- It is low in carbon, renewable and sustainable.
- It is estimated that one fifth of global energy could be provided by biomass, without damaging the production of food or use of land.
- Biomass absorbs carbon dioxide as it grows and releases that back into the atmosphere when it is burned, as opposed to burning coal which releases CO2 which has been trapped underground for years – meaning biomass is better for the environment.