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People of Leeds give EfW plans "overwhelming" support

The people of Leeds have shown overwhelming support for an Energy from Waste (EfW) facility as it strives to become a zero waste city.

As part of a major consultation project which invited citizens to have their say over how the council deals with its waste over the next 30 years, a massive 84% came out in favour of an EfW facility to deal with waste that could not be recycled.

Gearing up to take radical steps in reducing the citys reliance on landfill, a draft proposal also advocates encouraging more households to recycle and initiatives to minimise waste production.

Also included are ambitious plans to double the current recycling rate for household waste.

But as the city faces up to the challenges that lie ahead, local residents really have spoken with over 800,000 people given opportunities to participate in the exercise.

In shaping the strategy, opinion has been gleaned through various methods such as citizen panels, community group questionnaires, an online survey, presentations, leafleting, advertising and media coverage and awareness campaigns in schools.

Leeds City Council executive board member responsible for waste management Steve Smith said: We are grateful to the thousands of residents who contacted us with their views about how we should deal with the citys waste. This feedback has helped us shape our strategy and future plans to address the challenges we face in the future.

Reducing, re-using and recycling waste remain our highest priorities and we are aiming to double our current recycling performance. We have recently won a national award for our recycling achievements and recycle a greater percentage of our waste than any other similar sized city in the country.

However, we recognise that increased recycling alone will not enable us to meet the new targets on landfill. We have, therefore, considered how technology can play a part in dealing with the waste that isnt recycled or re-used, in a way that is safe, efficient and minimises our impact on the environment.

The proposed EfW plant will involve a process of burning waste under tightly controlled conditions to supply power to the national grid and heat houses and businesses.

A revised strategy will be considered at Executive Board next month following the original approval of the draft version for public consultation in December 2005.

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