Keighley is to get a new £120 million energy complex on the site of an old gas works despite locals’ concerns it could 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 million kWh of electricity a year – virtually enough to power the whole town.
The Halton Group scheme got the green light at Bradford Council’s regulatory and appeals committee last Thursday.
But the meeting heard the National Trust was among those calling for its refusal.
Trust spokesman Barbara Hooper said a 60-metre stack, which formed part of the plant, and the plume 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 that 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 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 added: “This facility is very badly needed by Bradford Council to counter the landfill sites.”
Coun Malcolm Sykes said he still had reservations. He added: ”I’m still not quite certain that five or ten years from now these people are not going to be faced with smells or emissions that are carcinogenic.”
But he said 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.
A total of 300 jobs are expected to be created during the construction phase and, once operational, 79 people will be employed in the plants and 99 in commercially-let offices.
The scheme has been welcomed by many.
Keighley Central councillor and Lord Mayor of Bradford Coun Khadim Hussain said: “I am pleased the plans have been approved.
“I attended the exhibition of the proposals when they were put on show and was very impressed. It will be a good scheme for Keighley.”
Town mayor Coun Sally Walker said: “I think it is an excellent idea. It will produce clean energy and give a major boost to the town.”