A CONTROVERSIAL bid to build a £23.5 million green energy plant between York and Selby has been backed by highway bosses - despite objectors claiming it could cause traffic headaches.

Peel Environmental Management (UK) Limited and North Selby Mine Waste Ltd have submitted proposals for the anaerobic digestion facility at Deighton, a former mine site, which would create heat and electricity from organic waste. The firms say it could lead to up to 100 new jobs and boost the local economy.

The plans have drawn more than 280 objections, with one of the main concerns focusing on the potential impact of the extra traffic on local roads created by the North Selby Mine development which also includes a horticultural glasshouse.

However, City of York Council’s highway network management team has said the number of lorry journeys would be “very low” and not lead to queues on the nearby A19.

York Outer MP Julian Sturdy has written to the York authority, which will make a decision on the proposals.

He said they should be turned down as they would “exacerbate current congestion” on the A19, which he claimed was not equipped to deal with the additional traffic.

In a letter to planners, he also raised concerns that traffic surveys which have been submitted by the applicants were “unreliable and devoid of proper context”, while also echoing local residents’ concerns about the impact of the development on the surrounding Green Belt.

In a submission to planning officers, an e-mail on behalf of the authority’s highway network team said the worst-case scenario would be that the plant would see 88 HGV journeys in a 12-hour day, or between seven and eight an hour, at its busiest operating times.

“The potential increase in traffic during the peak network periods...will not have a material impact and will barely be perceivable when considering adjacent traffic flows on the A19,” said the department’s statement.

It also said the A19’s accident history did not suggest traffic from the development would cause any greater risk, and the junction from the A19 into the site was suitable for the proposed development.