Leeds Green Technologies

Paul Fowler, left, general manager of Veolia, and Tony Wing, senior project manager with builders Clugston, at the site of the under-construction Leeds Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility (RERF) at Cross Green.Paul Fowler, left, general manager of Veolia, and Tony Wing, senior project manager with builders Clugston, at the site of the under-construction Leeds Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility (RERF) at Cross Green.

BURNING VISION: IN OUR 5TH PIECE MARKING RECYCLING WEEK, AISHA IQBAL REPORTS ON PROGRESS ON THE CROSS GREEN INCINERATOR. WAS IT THE RIGHT OPTION FOR LEEDS - AND COULD IT FORM THE FINAL LEG OF THE CITY’S RECYCLING JOURNEY?

IT’s been a burning topic in Leeds for several years, but one thing is for sure - the Cross Green incinerator is coming.

Progress on the plant, officially known as the Leeds Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility (RERF) is on target, and bosses say it is likely to open on schedule in the summer of 2016.

Construction started last September on the former outdoor market site.

Up to 150, 000 tonnes of Leeds’s annual black bin waste will be sent there. This represents around half the city’s total bin output, and up to 3/4 of the total waste that will be brought to the site.

Recyclable materials - those that haven’t made their way into a green bin or a civic skip - will be harvested, and the remainder will be incinerated.

The combustion process is expected to generate 11 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 20, 000 homes, which will be fed into the National Grid. Also in development is a district heating scheme which will skim off steam from the incineration processes and pipe it to heat municipal buildings, swimming pools, libraries and high-rise council flats.

The project will also create 45 permanent jobs once operational.

The RERF is being spearheaded by Leeds City Council and is key to the authority’s long-term waste and recycling strategy. It is funded through a 25-year private finance initiative, and it is hoped that over that period, the facility will save taxpayers more than £200m in landfill tax and environmental levies.

The plant will be operated by Veolia, which already runs several incinerators across the country. But the Leeds plant is the firm’s biggest and most ambitious to date.

The facility will, in effect, be the final leg of Leeds’s recycling journey, as the city bids to beat Government targets.

As reported in the YEP throughout this week, Leeds is aiming to smash through the 60 per cent overall recycling rate in the next few years, But despite good progress from our unimpressive performances of a decade ago, we still lag behind other areas, and campaigners are calling on the city to raise its game.

Paul Fowler, general manager at Veolia, believes that the RERF will “contribute massively to the overall target for recycling”.

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