The government has written to North Yorkshire County Council telling it to refuse planning permission for a waste incinerator at Kellingley Colliery.
Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities and local government, has written to the council directing it not to grant permission for the plant, which would burn up to 280,000 tonnes of waste a year.
Mr Pickles states in his letter that he would like time to see whether he should look at the application himself.
In the letter, Liz Hardy, senior planning manager, on behalf of Mr Pickles, states: “In exercise of his powers the secretary of state directs your council not to grant permission on the application without specific authorisation.
“This direction is issued to enable him to consider whether he should direct that the application should be referred to him for determination.”
North Yorkshire’s County Council’s planning and regulatory functions committeesaid it was minded to approve the application at a meeting in September.
But campaigners claim the Peel Environmental plant - which will produce enough electricity to power 63,000 homes - will increase pollution and traffic in Knottingley, Byram and Eggborough and have pledged to keep on fighting the scheme.
Coun John McCartney, who represents the Osgoldcross ward on North Yorkshire County Council, said: “This is, hopefully, a second bite of the cherry for residents who are vehemently against the proposal. We will be continuing to lobby our MP Nigel Adams in a bid to make sure these plans are refused.”
Richard Barker, Peel Environmental development manager, said: “We welcome the support of North Yorkshire County councillors in passing a resolution to approve the Southmoor Energy Centre application.
“We await the outcome of the National Planning Casework Unit’s consideration of the application - the next step in the planning process.
“Over the past two years we have worked hard to develop an application that carefully considered all aspects of the energy centre.
“The approved plans include the provision of improved local road safety features, as well as a number of other measures that will reduce any impact on the nearest residents.”