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“Show us the incinerator alternatives”: MP’s challenge to County Council

Following North Yorkshire County Council’s Cabinet decision to proceed with the incinerator project at Allerton Park, a local MP has demanded that the costs of alternatives be placed before County Councillors when their turn comes to give the final go ahead later in the month.

To date, although the County Council has acknowledged that there are alternatives to incineration at Allerton Park that were not available when the project began in 2010 they have refused to investigate the costs of those alternatives.

Andrew Jones MP is now saying that there is capacity at many incinerators around the North Yorkshire region and that these incinerators could deal with any left over rubbish after recyclable materials have been removed from North Yorkshire’s waste.

Andrew Jones commented: The Allerton Waste Recovery Park is going to cost £1.2billion over 25 years. It won’t save any money for 15 years – in fact it will cost tens of millions of pounds over that period compared to landfill.

The Government withdrew support for the project because there is plenty of incineration capacity around the edges of North Yorkshire. So why spend an eye-watering amount of cash building yet more capacity?

Instead the County Council, if it truly feels incineration is the only option open to it, need to examine the costs of using those facilities which are now operational but were not available at the outset of this project. They need to be getting prices for fixed long-term cost-effective contracts with current operators. These options should be put before Councillors.

It is difficult to see how Councillors can make a balanced decision without that information. This is a £1.2billion decision. Councillors should not take such an important decision without being certain it was good value for money and that they have adequate information about all the alternatives. Councillors do not have this information. They should insist they get it before going any further.

The Executive Committee of North Yorkshire County Council met this week (9 September 2014) to discuss the proposal. They unanimously voted to support the proposal.

During 2010 North Yorkshire County Council tested the market and available options by going out to tender. Following the tender response and a structured evaluation of the responses, AmeyCespa was giving the first part of a 2-stage contract. The first stage was to secure planning consent for the land, something that is now complete.

The Executive Committee have considered  a detailed report that demonstrated the business case in a number of areas, including value for money and affordability to the Council. It was acknowledged that the value for money of the project was less than first predicted in 2010.

In Spring 2013 the Government withdraw Waste Infrastructure Credits, meaning that North Yorkshire lost £65M support to this project.

Comparisons have been made against sending waste to landfill and it was acknowledged that North Yorkshire does have landfill space that could be used. The revised (Sept 2014) calculations on value for money of the project show that Allerton Park offers better value for money than landfill.

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