Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Leeds, Love it, Live it..

Only it's not so simple. Where we live is nothing like the glitz and the glamour of the city centre.

Some of our neighbourhoods feature amongst the most deprived areas in the country.

Some of the housing is poor and some of our people are even poorer.

And the environment, well...

Statistics to follow.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010


Osmondthorpe, Halton Moor, Richmond Hill, Cross Green and East End Park are just some of the local communities who will be significantly affected by the council’s plans to build a large incinerator in this area.

Local people are getting together to form a group and organise protests against placing this incinerator so close to densely pack housing and schools.

Have you been consulted about having this large project on your doorstep? The council have been planning this project since 2005 when it started looking at more than 2,000 sites across the city. The local council set the guidelines for what was needed to make the site acceptable and since it wrote the rules it is hardly surprising that they came up with the answer they was looking for – ALL 4 of the preferred sites were in this area!

This area already has a landfill site at Skelton Grange, a waste transfer station, 2 incinerators (one processing contaminated and nuclear waste from hospitals across Leeds) and a sewage works.

Perhaps the council thought that it could slip this passed the people in this area; that they would not notice until it was too late. If so they are wrong! Many of the people living in these areas have done so for a long time, have raised children and made significant contributions to their
communities. They have bought their homes or made a long term commitment to the area’s future and they will not stand idly by while all that they have worked for is put at risk by this development.

Of the 4 original sites only 2 now remain in contention the old filter beds at Knostrop and the old Wholesale Market at Cross Green. Both of these sites are quite near to housing areas.

The incinerator planned is to process 160,000 tonnes of waste per year. Once started it will work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year – once switched on it cannot be stopped without significantly damaging the incinerator.

We are told that the incinerator (which is more usually referred to as a Waste Treatment Plant) will not produce any harmful emissions, no smells, no flies, no noise and no extra traffic will be generated in our area by lorries using either of these sites because they already go to Skelton Grange – that is if you will pardon the pun – is rubbish.

The thinking seems to be that because the area used to have heavy industry and already has other undesirable projects - well what’s one more!

How will this area ever attract the regeneration projects and new investment needed to improve the quality of life for people living here if all we get are project like this? It is proposed to build new ECO housing on the site of Copperfields College which would be very near to either of these proposed sites.

How many people do you know who would want to live next door to an incinerator if given the chance to choose?

All the rubbish processed will, we are told, reach the site by lorry using the East Leeds Inner Ring Road. This will mean that 447 lorries per week, making 2 tips per load, will be thundering into and out of the site all day and every day. We are told that there will be no lorries in the back streets taking short cuts to save miles but we are not confident that they will not use the larger road locally to get to the site. Roads already congested to busting point now at peak times. There will be more lorries collecting the ‘dirty’ re-cycled waste extracted before incineration and taking away the by-products of incineration.

We are repeatedly told of the benefits of this scheme to the city of Leeds but it seems to us that the negative effects on the quality of life of the residents has not been taken into consideration at all. Perhaps the residents of this part of Leeds just aren’t as important as others.

We have received assurance about the emissions, noise, traffic, insects and flies affecting this development but the fact is we don’t believe them and if we are proved right – well we would have to live with the consequences of their miscalculations, if the people who are giving us these assurances turn out to be wrong well - they don’t live here do they!