What the Councillors have to say on the proposed Incinerator

As you know Green Party Councillors are against incinerators, and I stating this as one of your meetings.

Cllr. Ann Blackburn


The sites which you correctly identify are still in the process of being considered, along with the bidders.  Given the increase in tax from Europe which could cost the Council millions on top of the current cuts, it appears the process is difficult to reverse given the timescales we have in front of us.

I find it rich that the Liberal Democrats should suddenly deny all responsibility for this.  Sadly it is more like cheap political gains.


As I resigned as Chair of Cabinet and an Executive Member over the issue of the incinerator you can be assured that I oppose both the incinerator and any PFI contract to fund one.

Best regards

Cllr David Blackburn


I was not aware that there was to be a Municpal Incinerator in Richmond Hill. Please could you provide the evidence that this is now to be the case.

My understanding is that the proposal is for another one to be built near to existing ones in Cross Green.
As to the rest of your quesions. It is a question of how much residual waste is to be incinerated when all other options have been exhausted. I am in favour of recycling as much as is possible first. I would not be in favour of incinerating any more than is absoultely necessary.
Without the full picture it is not possible to make a commitment.
kind regards

Cllr Ryk Downes
Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader
Otley & Yeadon Ward.


When this comes to a vote in Council, and assuming that I am still a councillor, then I shall vote with the Labour Group. When people join a political party it is a package deal, and only occasionally can we cherry pick the policies we like. Some people pretend otherwise, but I prefer to tell the truth.

Before we get to that stage there will be a political debate, and here is the position that I shall argue:

1) Incineration is a confession of failure. It implies that we have given up on recycling, re-use and waste minimisation, and that we really can’t think of anything else to do with the stuff. I am particularly worried about agreements that tie us into fixed tonnages of waste to be burned, since this removes all incentive to do better.

2) I am not keen on landfill. Except for builders’ rubble and inert minerals, landfill is a toxic present to our children, which will leach heavy metals and belch methane for hundreds of years. It is also increasingly expensive. If we excavate existing mixed landfill sites, can we re-claim the landfill tax at the current rate?

3) For food (putrescible) waste, my preferred solution is to macerate and flush it down the sewers, followed by anaerobic digestion (to generate methane and soil improver) at the sewage plant. To work well, this means moving from a combined sewage system to a system that separates rain water from foul waste. I would like to do this. It would be expensive, but it would hugely improve river ecology and it would create a large number of manual construction jobs. There may be a need for these in the immediate future. I think this option would use less energy in the longer term than trying to separate and collect putrescible solid waste on a short collection cycle.

4) Clean dry metals, plastics, clothing and paper can all be recycled. We must expand the range of goods we accept, and our ability to handle mixed products to the point where all our clean and harmless waste goes in the green bin. Tetra Pak drinks containers are a real challenge, and I am not sure what to do with worn-out shoes. Residents should not need to examine pizza bases to see whether the plastic is a “5” or a “4” or a “3”…

5) Leeds could compost garden waste centrally, although we do ours locally, and spread it on our garden and allotments. We put all manner of stuff on our compost heap which supports significant livestock. Our cats kill the rodents and the magpies and crows eat the bodies. It is all part of nature’s recycling scheme.

6) For a small part of the waste stream (infected clinical waste, used incontinence pads and the like) incineration may be the only realistic option. I am unable to suggest a better solution for wet and dirty plastic bags. There comes a point where the stuff is so far gone that there may be no practical alternative. I don’t like incinerators close to housing, and a pelleted waste solution could allow the residual waste to be burned some distance away. I don’t like PFI – waste of money. This should be funded by a bond issue backed by land value taxation.

John Illingworth

1 comment:

  1. its a bad idea,, we won't be throwing plastic away in five years... This PFI deal locks us into burning waste that may change in its nature over the next ten years due to innovations like polymorph easy to recycle low melt temperature plastics

    it cost £34 a kilo for ASB that is used in 3D printers,,, £d= plus will mean home micro manufacture will be £50 for the equipment next year.. We will be reusing more burning less... not by choice.. it takes 2 tilers of petrol to make a kilo of plastic.. the council intends to burn millions of pound of valuable material that sounds bonkers.

    Paul Kendall