FAMILIES in Ilkley will become guinea pigs in a health experiment if an incinerator is allowed just four miles away, according to campaigners.
Opponents of the Keighley scheme say it could lead to health risks and they are slamming a Bradford Council report as "out of date and inadequate."
Protestors have made an official complaint to Bradford Council about the report in the wake of a Government decision not to 'call in' the Energy from Waste scheme for further scrutiny.
Endless Energy has been given council approval to build the incinerator at the the former Gas Works and the company insists the facility will adhere to strict environmental rules.
But this week Ben Rhydding resident and Keighley and Ilkley Green Party member Dr Ros Brown warned of potential health risks for people in Ilkley.
She said the council's report relied on outdated and inadequate research about the potential impact of incineration on the health of people living nearby.
"The 2009 Public Health England research referred to in the report has already been recognized as inadequate," she said. "In 2012 a study into the possible human health impacts of waste incinerators was announced with King’s College London and Imperial College London being funded by PHE and Zero Waste Scotland to carry out the research. The full outcomes from this research were first expected in 2014. Instead a paper published by the Imperial College research team at this time, following their systematic review of relevant research, acknowledged ‘the current evidence-base to be inconclusive’.
"The authors felt this warranted further investigation into significant positive relationships between incineration and certain birth defects, as shown by a number of the higher quality studies they considered."
She said further research was due to published this spring but the process could take much longer.
"In the meantime our families will become unconsenting guinea-pigs in a polluting and uncharted health experiment which others will profit from financially," she stressed.
"When our seven-year-old asks me ‘Will the incinerator be safe?’ all I can say is that we’ve done our best to draw attention to the evidence and will challenge any attempt by Endless Energy to gain an Environment Agency permit to run the plant’."
A spokesperson for the Council said: "When the Council’s Regulatory and Appeals Committee considered the proposed Keighley Energy from Waste facility they took into account all of the relevant material planning considerations. This included highway safety matters and the visual impact of the development on areas such as Ilkley Moor. The application was considered in line with government advice and legislation and there was detailed consultation with Public Health England and the Environment Agency, neither of which raised any objection to the granting of planning permission.
"With regards to the concerns on pollution, it is the Environment Agency’s responsibility to regulate the emissions from the operation of the proposed facility and this will be controlled under the Environmental Permitting Regime."
A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: “As an environmental regulator of the energy-from-waste industry, the Environment Agency’s role is to ensure that such activities are carried out in a way that does not harm people or the environment.
“Endless Energy can only operate its proposed facility in Keighley if it has a permit issued by the Environment Agency under the Environmental Permitting Regulations. We have not yet received an application for a permit for this facility; if the firm does submit an application, it will be subject to our rigorous environmental permitting process, which includes an open, public consultation with interested parties, including the Food standards Agency, Public Health England, the Director of Public Health, the Local Authority, and local communities.