CAMPAIGNERS are warning about potential health risks from a waste incinerator to be sited just four miles from Ilkley.

The 35 metre-high energy plant and incinerator is recommended for approval by Bradford councillors today (Thursday, February 9) - but the Green Party is calling for the scheme to be refused amid concerns about its effect on people near the Keighley site and in surrounding areas.

Now Ilkley parish councillors are asking why they were not informed about the application sooner.

The parish council is writing to Bradford pointing out that some residents are concerned about pollution and asking if due process has been followed in not involving Ilkley in the consultation.

On Monday parish councillors heard from Keighley and Ilkley Green Party representative Dr Ross Brown, who told them the plume from the incinerator was predicted to fall on Ilkley. She warned about the potential effects on health and on house prices and she said more than 4,000 people had signed a petition against the application.

Dr Brown said studies pointed to increased health problems in areas near incinerators.

She warned: "I am reminded of the initial failure to legislate asbestos particles properly, which led to thousands of death across Britain."

She stressed: "We must not sleep walk into further pollution."

Dr Brown added: "People in the fallout area of the York incinerator have seen house values fall by 50 per cent."

The Green Party says data from the Office of National Statistics shows that nine of the ten councils with highest rates of infant death either had an incinerator, or were adjacent to a council with an incinerator. Campaigners say areas with incinerators or near incinerators also have higher rates of cancer and respiratory disorders.

Coun Mark Stidworthy said he did not feel pollution would be a problem for Ilkley as campaigners had not properly taken into account the effect of the hills. But he described it as odd that the council had not been included in the consultation.

Vice chairman Coun Stephen Butler said if the issue was important for Ilkley it should have been brought to the parish council sooner.

"This application, as I understand, has been going on for two or three years and I am very surprised that we have only found out about it tonight," he said.

He stressed: "It is a bit late for us to be putting forward a view of any sort on the basis of one side of the argument."

A planning officer's report to today's meeting of the Regulatory and Appeals Committee says the plans face no objections from Environmental Health, the Environment Agency, conservation officers, or from Public Health England.

An Aire Valley Against Incineration spokesman said: "Bradford Council officers say the application is ‘acceptable’ as the ‘overall benefits and public benefits 'outweigh the identified harm’.

"But the applicants didn't provide a balanced application and impact analysis. Bradford's planners have not carried out due diligence in their appraisal.

A planning officer report says: "The UK Health Protection Agency’s Position Paper on Municipal Waste Incineration found in most cases an incinerator contributes only a small proportion to the local level of pollutants, and concluded effects on health from emissions to air from incineration are likely to be small in relation to other known risks to health.

"The Health Protection Agency (now Public Health England) concluded that for modern incinerators there's little evidence emissions make respiratory problems worse.

"Similarly, there's no consistent evidence of a link between exposure to emissions from incinerators and an increased rate of cancer.

"Public concerns are genuine, but experts, from Public Health England and the Environment Agency do not conclude that the plant poses a risk and the Local Planning Authority is required to rely on the experts in this matter."