A KEY stage of a long battle to try and stop a £150 million waste to energy incinerator being built in Keighley takes place in Leeds next week.

The two-day Judicial Review of Bradford Council’s decision to permit the development next to the Aire Valley Bypass begins on Monday January 15 in Leeds Combined Court Centre, Oxford Road.

The review is being held thanks to a campaign being waged against the waste to energy plant plans by the Aire Valley Against Incineration (AVAI) group.

AVAI spokesman Simon Shimbles said he understood the hearing would be taking place from 10.30am to 1pm and from 2pm to 4pm on Monday and Tuesday next week, though he stressed that these would be provisional timings.

He said the judge’s decision would not be made during the actual hearing, noting that it could take several weeks before the ruling is announced.

“We’re quite lucky to have been granted a crown court room which has a capacity of about 20 in the public gallery,” he said.

“Some of us will be attending, though we won’t be inviting loads of people to come down. Personally, I plan to be there for the duration.

“We’ve done everything we possibly can do, and now it’ll be down to the judge to decide.

“We hope the judge sees the merits of our arguments and rules that the planning permission was flawed.

“I’d like to say a massive ‘thank you’ to everyone who has supported us. This isn’t over by a long shot, but they can be very proud of what they’ve achieved.”

Bradford councillors voted to approve Endless Energy Limited’s application to build the waste to energy plant off the eastern end of Marley Road in February 2017.

The proposals have faced fierce opposition from people who have warned that they will generate harmful pollution and ruin the appearance of this part of the Aire Valley.

In pressing for the Judicial Review hearing they raised money to pay for expert legal opinion, arguing that Bradford Council’s decision-making process had not given due weight to local heritage and environmental issues.

AVAI has held public meetings, protest rallies and marches and promoted a variety of fundraising events to pay for its campaign.

The group has said that if its Judicial Review challenge fails, its next step would be to oppose the issuing of an Environment Agency permit that would allow any new incinerator to operate.

Endless Energy has said the land where it intends to build its waste to energy plant is a former industrial site, which has a previous planning consent for a similar use that was not challenged.

The firm has previously said: “The Judicial Review outcome will give us a great opportunity to speak with members of the public and help them understand why we believe this facility will be a benefit.

“We’ve undertaken rigorous assessments throughout this planning application and have full confidence in our ability to deliver a safe, environmentally sustainable facility that’ll bring jobs and growth.

“We take our responsibility to the local community very seriously.

“We’ll be working closely with Bradford Council and planning officers to make sure we continue to meet the high standards set out as part of this planning application.

“This Energy Recovery Facilities represents an investment of up to £150 million in Keighley, and will create in the region of 300 jobs during construction.

“When completed the site will employ 79 people during operation and create countless more jobs through the supply chain.

“Generating energy from recycled waste that would otherwise end up in landfill has a lengthy and successful history as part of the UK’s energy mix.”