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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 September 2006, 10:24 GMT 11:24 UK
Incinerator 'bid' for city centre
Prostestors' picture showing how the plant would look at Leeds Civic Hall
Campaigners were protesting against council plans to burn waste
Plans for a waste incinerator in Leeds city centre have been submitted in an ironic gesture by protesters.

A giant picture showing how the plant would look in the city's Millennium Square was displayed during the protest, led by Friends of the Earth.

The event was organised to object to council plans to burn the city's waste rather than recycle it.

Campaigners said they did not expect their plan to be approved, but wanted to make a point to councillors.

Details of the application were put up around Millennium Square on Wednesday by demonstrators wearing protective masks.

'Poison the skies'

Local campaigner David Fanaroff said: "Following research by consultants we know that the council is considering giving the go-ahead for a huge waste incinerator for Leeds.

"We are really concerned that the council has not evaluated the alternatives properly.

"This plant could poison the skies over the city, suppress the demand for recycling, create far fewer jobs than other means of waste treatment and cost the council tax payer around 450m.

"(We want) to make councillors think when they are sitting in their offices in the Civic Hall, what it would be like to look out of the window and be faced with a huge waste incinerator."

'Top priorities'

A spokesman for Leeds City Council said residents had signalled support for an "energy from waste" plant - not an incinerator - to destroy rubbish which could not be recycled and would previously have been sent to landfill.

An energy from waste plant involves burning waste under strict conditions to supply power to the national grid and heat houses and businesses.

The council buried 79% of the household waste it collected in 2005/6.

Under new legislation, by 2020, the authority faces paying an estimated 217m in penalties if it does not take action to meet targets, it said.

Members of the council will meet in October to discuss proposals for the future of waste disposal in the city.

The spokesman said: "Waste disposal, recycling and the environment are top priorities for this council.

"We are keen for the public to have its say and we take any valid points on board."

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