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From TheTelegraph and Argus, 29th June 2017
Written by Miran Rahman

KEIGHLEY’S newly-elected MP said he was optimistic that people battling to overturn a decision to approve plans for a waste to energy incinerator can reach their goal. John Grogan spoke after meeting members of Aire Valley Against Incineration, (AVAI) who are opposing the proposals for the site at Marley.

Mr Grogan said despite Bradford Council approving the plans by Endless Energy Ltd, AVAI’s application for a Judicial Review and its intention to contest any Environment Agency Operating Licence have a realistic chance of success.

“I’m confident that the plans could still be refused,” he said.

“I’ve spoken to the Environment Agency and asked whether the issuing of an operating licence is a matter of routine, but they did say they have refused one for another waste to energy plant fairly recently.

“And, having the read the papers, I do think there is a strong case for the Judicial Review.

“Bradford Council did turn down an earlier application for this waste to energy incinerator based on its likely impact on the locality, including on East Riddlesden Hall, but then the Council approved a very similar application, without very clear evidence as to why it was different from the previous one.”

Mr Grogan said he understood Endless Energy has not yet applied to the Environment Agency for an operating licence for its intended facility, noting that once it does so the process for deciding whether to issue the licence could take up to one year.

He said the Environment Agency had told him it would be willing to meet with AVAI as part of a consultation process during the decision-making process but that was unlikely to happen before the autumn.

Mr Grogan is donating half of the salary he receives for his first month as an MP to AVAI’s battle fund.

Speaking after the meeting with Mr Grogan, AVAI spokesman Rachel Shimbles said: “It was a fantastic, positive meeting and we came away really pleased. It’s a big boost for us.

“We’re encouraged by what Mr Grogan can do to widen our campaign within the community, and also with what he’ll be doing to raise the issue of incineration in Parliament.

“His donation of half of his first month’s salary has encouraged a lot more people to come forward and donate.

“We’re now more than half way towards the £25,000 we need for the Judicial Review. We’re confident that we will hit our target.”

Endless Energy has stressed that its waste to energy incinerator will comply with strict EU safety and emissions standards and it will regenerate a once derelict site while providing additional employment for the Keighley area.