Keighley is to get a £120 million energy complex on the site of an old gas works, despite locals’ concerns that it could give off “toxic smoke”.
The three plants in Airedale Road, alongside the Aire Valley trunk road at Marley will burn non-recyclable processed commercial and industrial waste for fuel so it is not landfilled.
The plants will be capable of producing 80,000,000kWh of electricity a year – enough to virtually power the town.
The Halton Group scheme got the green light yesterday at Bradford Council’s regulatory and appeals committee despite calls for its refusal from the National Trust among others.
Trust spokesman Barbara Hooper said a 60m chimney and the plume of gases which it will give off would harm the setting of the nearby East Riddlesden Hall, which the trust owns.
She said it would “introduce a very modern and intrusive feature” at a hall which now gave visitors “a sense of stepping back in time”.
Sarah Nash-Myers, of nearby The Croft, said she would be worried about letting her children play outdoors in a “huge plume of toxic smoke”.
Officers told committee members that no serious concerns with noise, smells or air pollution were foreseen, and Public Health England had no objection to the scheme.
But they were told these aspects would be a matter for the Environment Agency to regulate as they would be the ones to issue a permit to the operators.
Councillor Valerie Binney said while she had initially been torn by the proposal, having visited the site she had seen how many chimney stacks there were already on the landscape.
She said: “This facility is very badly needed by Bradford Council to counter the landfill sites.”
Councillor Malcolm Sykes said he still had reservations but he said that as long as local people got a chance to have their say in the Environment Agency’s permit process, he was content to back the application.
The construction phase will create 300 jobs and 79 people would be employed in the plants and 99 in commercially-let offices.