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The MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, Andrew Jones, has called on North Yorkshire County Council to finally ditch plans for an incinerator at Allerton Park. Mr Jones says that the situation with waste and with the financing of the project are so radically altered from where they originally began that it make sense to substantially alter the scheme and bring forward alternatives to the plans currently on offer which include the controversial incinerator.
The contract for the scheme has reached what is known as the ‘long-stop date’ – an opportunity for a pause and discussion between the County Council and the main contractor, Amey Cespa, about the circumstances and progress of the contract. Since the scheme has not yet received the final go-ahead due to ongoing legal proceedings, North Yorkshire County Council’s Executive are looking at options at their meeting on 1 October and could remove the incinerator element of the proposal.
Originally the scheme was part-funded by government-backed Waste Infrastructure Credits – formerly known as PFI. The government withdrew the offer of financial support following an analysis of incineration capacity in the area which demonstrated that the incinerator was no longer needed.
And Harrogate Borough Council has now completed the implementation of its new wheeled bin recycling scheme. This has seen the amount of household waste being recycled rocket and reducing the amount going to landfill. Many believe that there is now less domestic waste available than the incinerator needs to be viable.
Mr Jones commented:
On the 1 October, North Yorkshire County Council’s Executive is meeting and will be looking at the contract and its viability going forward. I never agreed with the County Council’s decision to go for incineration but I understood that they believed they had a coherent rationale underpinning their decision.
Over time the fundamentals upon which that decision was underpinned have changed so dramatically that the coherent rationale no longer exists. It is not a weakness to recognise this but a great strength – and a strength which the County Council has shown on many other big projects.
It is time to take advantage of the pause offered by the long-stop date being reached and go back to the drawing board in light of the very different circumstances in which North Yorkshire County Council finds itself today from when this process started several years ago.