CONTROVERSIAL plans for a £23.5 million green energy development between York and Selby have drawn more than 200 objections.

Proposals for the anaerobic digestion plant, which would create heat and electricity from organic waste, have been drawn up for the former North Selby Mine site at Deighton.

A decision on whether the development can go ahead could be made at the start of February.

The scheme has been put forward by Peel Environmental Management (UK) Limited and North Selby Mine Waste Limited, but hundreds of letters opposing the plans have been sent to City of York Council, which will decide the application in the New Year.

The companies have said the plant could create up to 100 new jobs – including 56 full-time roles and 50 “temporary seasonal” positions.

They also claim the plant would boost the local economy and allow waste to be dealt with in a “more sustainable” way while producing “renewable and low-carbon energy”. The land where it would be built in three phases is owned by UK Coal (Investments) Limited, with the scheme also comprising a horticultural glasshouse and the demolition of existing buildings.

An action group set up to oppose the plans said local residents want the land, which is within the Green Belt, to be protected from development and fear approving the plant would pave the way for a wave of future planning applications in the area.

York Outer MP Julian Sturdy is among those who has raised concerns about the proposals. Deighton Parish Council is among the objectors, saying it would be “inappropriate development” and will cause traffic problems.

A letter sent to council planners on behalf of its chairman, Trevor Bartram, said: “The view of Deighton and Crockey Hill residents is that the site must be restored to agricultural use.

“The Green Belt has historically performed an important function in preserving the setting of the city of York and there have been no exceptional circumstances demonstrated in this application to overturn this principle.”

Opposition has also come from Wheldrake and Thorganby parish councils, the York Natural Environment Panel and dozens of individual residents, while North Yorkshire Police has said it cannot support the scheme until crime prevention issues are addressed. However, Natural England and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust have raised no objections.