Leading experts on air quality have been commissioned by Carlisle City Council to examine "with a fine-tooth comb" the application for a permit to operate a new incinerator.

Carlisle City Council's deputy leader Gareth Ellis has said the council wants to make sure the expertise is "on the side of the residents", and as such has arranged for experts on air quality to join its own task group looking into the possibility the proposed incinerator will impact air quality in the city.

The proposed incinerator, which developers are seeking to build at Kingmoor Park on the northern edge of Carlisle, requires a permit from the Environment Agency before operations can go ahead.

The agency will be launching a 60-day consultation on July 24 prior to granting or rejecting the permit application, and the city council's task group will be contributing its findings.

Mr Ellis said he was confident that working together, the council, its commissioned experts and the Environment Agency would be able to provide cast-iron assurances to the public that there would not be any negative impact on air quality in Carlisle as a result of the incinerator's construction and operation - and would identify any negative impacts if they were deemed to be possible.

"We've got experts on air quality we've recruited to do this for us," Mr Ellis said.

"They're going to go through the application with a fine-tooth comb, and look for the impact on air quality."

He added that it was important that the public, particularly residents living closest to the proposed site in north Carlisle, felt confident that expertise was on "their side."

"We want to make sure the application complies with regulation, with best practice, and that there is no negative impact on people who live nearby," Mr Ellis said.

"We want to make sure that everything that can be done will be done.

"Often with applications, the public generally feel as if everything is stacked against them, that all the expertise is on the side of the developers, not on the side of residents.

"But that's not going to be the case this time.

"This time we've got the best on our side, and we're going to make sure that if the application is approved, that it doesn't have a negative impact on the health of the people who live in the north of the city."

Mr Ellis added that both the city council and the Environment Agency held maintaining air quality in the highest regard.

"The air quality across Carlisle and the UK has become massively better in the past few decades. We don't want to see any steps back on that.

The Environment Agency will want the incinerator to comply with the latest regulations introduced in 2019, which are actually of a higher standard than previous ones.

This would mean if the incinerator were approved, it would have been held to the highest standards of any incinerator.

Mr Ellis also said that he wanted to make sure once the incinerator was operational, it would be monitored closely.

"We want to know if there would be any impact on health," he said.

"We want to know where the plumes would travel once they leave the stack, and how we would monitor that as the general public.

"And we want to make sure there are proper odour control measures in there."