AS we enter the final stages of the Environment Agency’s consultation to determine whether to issue an environmental permit for the proposed incinerator at Marley, it is important that people make their views heard.

I am completely opposed to the incinerator and I do believe that if approved, there could be dire and lasting consequences for our area.

There are four main issues to this proposal which need to be properly scrutinised during this consultation – emissions, topography, odour and the consultation process.

I have serious concerns with regards to how the Environment Agency may monitor emissions being released from the site and how it will carry out effective enforcement action should the applicant be in breach of any permitted rights that may be granted.

Too often projects on this scale get away with breaching permits with little to no recourse from the bodies set-up to regulate them.

Building an incinerator at the bottom of a valley poses its own challenges. The topography of the wider area beyond the proposed site needs properly assessing before an environmental permit should even be considered. Ilkley Moor is only four miles from the proposed site.

The negative implications associated with the incinerator being situated at the bottom of a valley with homes, sports fields and schools in close proximity also need to be taken into consideration.

A major factor to the incinerator which I often find is drowned out by other damning details is the odour that this site will emit.

The smell of rotting garbage is not a pleasant smell and something which gets trapped in your nostrils for a considerable time.

Should this proposed incinerator go ahead, this smell will blight our area on a permanent basis and could potentially have a damning and lasting effect on local tourist amenities, such as the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, the beautiful Ilkley and Haworth moorlands, the breathtaking East Riddlesden Hall and the world-renowned Bronte Parsonage, all of which draw visitors to our area from all over the world and add immensely to our local economy.

Overall, I have been very frustrated with how the Environment Agency has conducted the consultation.

Very little warning or indication was given by the agency of its decision. In fact, as the MP for the area, I was only given a matter of hours’ notice by the Environment Agency of its ‘minded to approve’ decision before the consultation was due to be launched, and I was told that it was to be an online consultation only.

I immediately wrote to the chief executive, Sir James Bevan, urging him to postpone the consultation and asked that when it is made live, it should be accessible for those who do not have internet access.

Whilst the consultation was initially postponed by five days, a further delay to the whole process was not considered.

I firmly believe that it is neither right nor fair for a major consultation to be carried out during a worldwide pandemic, knowing full well that residents and campaign groups cannot fully engage with the consultation process. Especially when the Government’s own Environment Department has postponed other consultations due to Covid.

With only a matter of days left until the consultation closing, I cannot stress enough the need for the Environment Agency to refuse the environmental permit for this development and I would urge everyone to get involved and respond before Wednesday, August 12.


MP for Keighley and Ilkley