Environment experts are scrutinising plans to burn tonnes of waste at a new incinerator in Carlisle, a city councillor has confirmed.

Gareth Ellis, Carlisle City Council's finance, governance and resources portfolio holder, said a task group set up to investigate the impact of the development proposed by Fortum Carlisle Ltd was looking at the details to inform the council's response to an Environment Agency consultation.

The developer has had planning permission for the project since 2016 but requires a permit from the agency to operate and, as part of the application for that permit, the city council has been invited to comment.

Concerns have been raised about the effect the development could have, with plans to burn refuse-derived fuel to produce electricity and heat on Kingmoor Park on the northern edge of the city.

Responding to a request from Councillor Helen Davison for an update on the group's work so far, Mr Ellis told a full council meeting on Tuesday night that specialists in air quality and permitting were involved in looking at the issues.

Dr Davison asked if the experts would also be looking at the impact on water quality, which had been raised by residents.

Mr Ellis said the group's expert in air quality had already helped the city council to persuade the developer to carry out a human health assessment and that he was looking at "all kinds of environmental issues."

He also revealed that the permitting specialist had drawn the group’s attention to weaknesses in the application which would feed into the city council’s response.

Mr Ellis added: “We anticipate that actually part of the recommendations that will be going forward to the Environment Agency will include recommendations around a few water issues but that will be a decision for the task group as a whole to make.”

Two meetings have been held so far to identify the main concerns and discuss which areas to investigate further.

Mr Ellis said: “We anticipate a third meeting within the next few weeks at which we will discuss and approve our response to the Environment Agency.”

It was confirmed that the group included councillors from Cumbria County Council, the city council, Stanwix Rural parish council and Kingmoor parish council and the chairs of Newfield Residents’ Association, Lowry Hill Residents’ Association and Crindledyke Residents’ Association.

Dr Davison also asked Mr Ellis if he would commit to adding another city councillor to the group who was not also a county councillor, due to concerns raised about the county council’s planning process for the project.

Mr Ellis declined to commit to the addition at the meeting but said he would consider it.