The ‘Aire Valley Against Incineration‘ campaign started in 2015, by local residents who were concerned about the proposals for a waste incinerator in the valley floor of the Aire Valley, at Marley, in Keighley, West Yorkshire.
The proposed location is right next to houses, schools, residential care facilities, outdoor sports facilities and housing.
The incinerator will act as a blight to the whole area – it is ugly, out of proportion and out of keeping with the current low rise units & rural approach to the area and have a negative impact on the local heritage sites. The chimney stack is the height of four double Decker buses and the length of a football field, it will dominate the landscape.
Environmentally, waste incinerators are the worst method of waste disposal. Where they already exist, the evidence shows that they diminish the drive to recycle. They also release high levels of Carbon Dioxide, Nitrogen Oxide and ultra fine particulates (PM2.5 & PM10). There is now a huge body of evidence which shows that shows that these particulates can cause birth defects and increase health risks for those with respiratory and heart problems.
The increased HVG traffic into and out of the site will create extra noise, congestion and air pollution to an already very congested stretch of road with illegally high air pollution levels.
The Directors and financial backers of the proposed incinerator have done their best to hide their identities, by registering the company in the Isle of Man tax haven, along with a string of related sub-companies and regular name changes.
Due to the previous activities of some of the backers and Directors of the development, they were referred to as ‘cowboys’ by the Keighley MP, Mr. John Grogan when he spoke about this campaign in the House of Lords.
Those backers and Directors have no experience or provenance within the waste incineration industry.
Planning permission was granted for an incinerator, a tyre burning plant and a plastics processing facility.
The Council met their legal requirement in notifying residents, by sending letters to 23 households. AVAI argue that they could and should have done more to notify people within the Aire Valley due to the sheer size of the development, potential for pollution and the associated health risks.
Needless to say there was very little public opposition at this time due to the lack of public awareness.
The applicants had not started any work on the site and submitted new plans for a much larger facility.
It was at this time that AVAI was formed.
One of our first tasks was to distribute thousands of leaflets throughout the Aire Valley to inform people of the new plans for the much larger plant. However, it must be noted that the tyre burning plant had been removed from the new scheme.
This time around there was much more opposition and the planning permission was refused on the grounds of size and visual amenity.
The applicants re-submitted plans for what was in effect, a slightly modified version of their approved 2015 application. Despite opposition from several thousand members of the public, members of Keighley and Bingley Town Councils, Bradford Planning Councillors voted to approve the application…
14th February 2017
AVAI host a meeting, attended by over 150 concerned members of the public, to update them on the newly passed plans and how the campaign would oppose the planning approval via a ‘Judicial Review’ in the High Court.
AVAI also announced the start of a £30,000 fundraising goal to fund the Judicial Review.
AVAI make an application to the Secretary of State to ‘call in’ (review) the newly approved application. As a result, Bradford Council were instructed to put the planning permission ‘on hold’ until a ruling was made by the Secretary of State.
25th March 2017
AVAI hold a march and rally in protest against the proposed Marley incinerator which was attended by 800 people. The event was well covered by local newspapers, television and social media.
Sadly, the Secretary of State ruled that he would not overturn the planning consent as it did not meet his criteria of being against national interest.
25th April 2017
AVAI hold a ‘Community Update meeting’ to keep members of the public updated with regards to the campaign, fundraising and Judicial Review.
AVAI send a ‘Letter Before Claim’ to Bradford Council. This letter states that AVAI intend to legally challenge Bradford Council’s planning decision.
Bradford Council indicate that they will not rescind the approved 2017 planning application and will go to the High Court.
21st May 2017
AVAI hold a peaceful protest at the site of the Marley incinerator which was well covered by the press, local TV and radio and social media.
AVAI’s environmental barristers serve their legal challenge papers to Bradford Council.
AVAI hold another public meeting at a packed venue to update everyone on the campaign and the associated fundraising efforts so far.
AVAI hold another site protest which is well covered again by the press, television and social media.
The BBC Look North program covers the AVAI campaign in a 20-minute feature on waste incineration.
2nd October 2017
AVAI hold a community update meeting, where the Keighley MP, Mr. John Grogan spoke about his efforts and support to defeat the proposals.
AVAI attends the High Court in Leeds for a two day hearing (Judicial Review) in which they challenge Bradford Council’s approval of planning for the proposed Marley waste incinerator.
Sadly, AVAI is informed that it’s Judicial Review in the High Court has failed and Bradford Council’s 2017 planning approval is upheld.
The Tour de Yorkshire passes through the Aire Valley. Many people are seen to be wearing AVAI T-shirts!
AVAI’s application for the right to appeal the High Court Judicial Review, is turned down.
The developers make an application for an operating permit to the Environment Agency. The Environment Agency announce that there will be a public consultation.
Many details within the operating permit application are different to those in the approve planning. The major standout items being:
o Increase in waste from 100,000 tonnes per year to 150,000 tonnes per year
o Substantial change in the types of waste to be burned
o Incorrect or missing ‘sensitive receptors’ on map
AVAI deliver 15,000 leaflets to households within the Aire Valley to inform them how they could participate in the Environment Agency consultation.
13th November 2019
The Environment Agency hold a well-attended public meeting at Victoria Hall in Keighley as the start of a 14 day consultation period.
27th November 2019
AVAI later hold a well-attended public meeting to update everyone on the Environment Agency public meeting and the consultation process so far.
The Environment Agency consultation ends with over 800 objections received. The highest number ever received for this type of consultation.
The Environment Agency issue an update to state that the application process is still ongoing.
Our local MP, John Grogan chairs an ‘Early Day motion’ in House of Lords to discuss a review of waste Incineration in the UK. Dr Therese Coffey – Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – told the Commons that “additional residual waste energy capacity above that already planned to 2020 should not be needed if we achieve our recycling targets”.
The Environment Agency issues an update in relation to the permit to operate. It is very clear that lots of questions have still to be adequately answered by the developers.
The company selected for the construction work for the incinerator, Clugston group, falls into administration.
Keighley’s MP, John Grogan clearly states his continued support for campaign in his election manifesto.
Keighley’s newly elected MP, Robbie Moore, meets with AVAI and states his support for the campaign and outlines his actions.
Minor works witnessed on the site. No doubt in an effort to keep the 2017 planning consent open.
8th June 2020
The Environment Agency announce that they are minded to grant a permit to operate. There is a second public consultation which runs until 16th July 2020.
9th June 2020
Local MP, Robbie Moore voices his continued concern and support against the incinerator via a video outside parliament. He also asks concerned residents to give him feedback via an online survey.
10th June 2020
AVAI launches a fundraising campaign for a legal challenge to the Environment Agency’s draft operating permit decision.
18th June 2020
As a result of a document written by AVAI and forwarded as a matter of urgency to the EA by Robbie Moore MP last week, the EA extended the consultation period by one week and issued an updated set of documents.
AVAI had previously identified that there were a number of documents missing from the bundle released by the EA to support their draft decision. We felt that it was essential that the general public needed to see not only the answers supplied by Endless Energy but also the questions asked by the EA, in order to determine whether the questions had been answered. We had noticed that these documents were missing as a result of submitting regular Freedom of Information requests to the EA.
12th July 2020
AVAI issue their guidance document which the public can use as a basis for their objection to the Environment Agency.
19th July 2020
Due to the continued pressure from this campaign and our local MPs, the Environment Agency extended the consultation deadline by two weeks.
The deadline is now 12th August 2020.