Keighley is to get a new £120 million energy complex on the site of an old gas works, despite locals’ concerns that it would give off “toxic smoke”.
The three plants will effectively burn non-recyclable waste for fuel, preventing it from having to be landfilled.
They are to be constructed on the derelict former gasworks site in Airedale Road, alongside the Aire Valley trunk road at Marley.
Already-processed commercial and industrial waste will be brought to the plants, which together will be capable of producing 80,000,000 kWh of electricity a year – virtually enough to power the whole town.
The Halton Group scheme got the green light today at Bradford Council’s regulatory and appeals committee.
But the meeting heard that the National Trust was among those calling for its refusal.
Trust spokesman Barbara Hooper said a 60m stack which formed part of the plant, and a plume 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”.
And resident 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.
Coun 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.”
Coun Malcolm Sykes said he still had reservations.
He said: ”I’m still not quite certain that five or 10 years from now these people are not faced with smells or emissions that are carcinogenic.”
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.
Three hundred jobs are expected to be created during the construction phase and once operational, 79 people would be employed in the plants and 99 in commercially-let offices.