On 9 September 2014, the Executive Committee of North Yorkshire County Council are set to discuss the proposal of a waste incinerator plant near to Knaresborough. They will then make a recommendation to full Council on 24 September 2014.
- The plans being proposed are to build a £250m waste processing facility near Allerton Park that would process black bag waste for the whole of North Yorkshire.
- The main access would be from the A1/ A168 and the facility would produce 24 mega watts of electricity or enough to power 40,000 homes. Up to 80% of the waste would be incinerated.
- The power from the incinerator would be converted to electricity rather than using a CHP (combined heat and power) system as there is no adjacent industry to utilize a CHP plant.
- Waste would be transported from all corners of the county, including additional vehicles coming through Harrogate from the Skipton/ Craven area.
The technology and lack of recycling at the proposed facility has been widely criticised. It would also effectively lock the county into that level of recycling for 25 years, although there would be more recycling at source.
On 14 February 2012, Harrogate Borough Council Planning Committee voted to strongly oppose the plans.
Time-line of events
- 30 October 2012 – AmeyCespa’s planning application for Allerton Waste Recovery Park. The committee heard representations from the public, local opposition groups and AmeyCespa. Members agreed with the report’s recommendation and voted to approve the application
- 14 February 2013 – the Secretary of State decided not to hold a public enquiry and the planning Decision Notice was issued.
- An application was made for a Judicial Review of the planning decision. This was refused by the High Court in July 2013. The High Court’s decision was then appealed and at a hearing at the Court of Appeal in London on 15 October 2013, the appeal was also refused.
- On 21 February 2013, Defra withdrew £65million PFI credits provisionally allocated for the project. The Council will now work with AmeyCespa on the final stage of the project leading to Financial Close when the costs and value for money will be confirmed. It is anticipated that this will be later in the year.
- AmeyCespa were granted an Environmental Permit from the Environment Agency in July 2013 and the Judicial Review period expired without challenge in October 2013.
- 9 September 2014 – NYCC Executive Committee to decide on a recommendation
- 24 September 2014 – a recommendation will be brought before the full NYCC Committee
The Green Party is committed to minimising negative impacts on the environment and to encouraging the best use of available resources.
Harrogate and District Green Party Spokesperson by Elizabeth Barclay said: Using information from the Eunomia consultancy report that was commissioned by North Yorkshire Waste Action Group (NYWAG), there are many reasons why the Green Party would not support the building of the Allerton Waste Recovery Park, now or in the foreseeable future.
Reduction in waste production is the most sensible way forward for the country as a whole. Most major supermarkets and other companies are working hard at reducing packaging to cut both material and waste disposal costs. As a party we support all efforts to continue this trend.
Government recycling targets are likely to rise above 50% during the contract period for this scheme – so the NYCC modelling of likely residual waste overestimates the amount that will be available for the plant. The waste plant as planned is therefore too large for the waste flow.
NYCC is contracted to produce specific amounts of waste for the AWRP – amounts which are unlikely to be realised and which will lead to financial penalties and a perverse incentive for residents to produce more waste.
In ‘climate change’ impacts the AWRP performs as badly as landfill and far worse than mechanical-biological treatment.
The Green Party opposes this solution to our waste management.
UKIP County Councillor David Simister said: “Whatever the outcome of the vote there will only be one loser – North Yorkshire’s tax payers!
More than £8m has already been wasted on this vanity project, and to pull out now will come with a £5m penalty clause.
However unpalatable that may be, it will still be significantly cheaper than if this white elephant is given the go ahead.
To tie us in to a 25 year contract is sheer madness. No sensible business would ever dream of doing that?
Cllr Helen Flynn, Deputy Leader of the Lib Dem Group at HBC and Prospective MP for Harrogate & Knaresborough said:
News that the North Yorkshire County Council is intending to go ahead with the Allerton Incinerator despite all the setbacks that point to it being a high risk project is sadly predictable. It is also appalling that with such a major project that important information on the project is being denied to public scrutiny under the cloak of “contracturally confidential” information.
It is clear that by using alternative disposal plants that are either on line (Middlesborough and Darlington) or projected such as the Kellingley project –which itself would take 280,000 tonnes of Municipal Waste a year, — the Incinerator is just not needed. There are big upfront costs for many years before any benefit accrues (if any) and much of the estimated profit depends heavily on the likely inflation rate and Government regulations being unchanged over the 25 year period, which is unlikely.
Don Mackenzie, Executive Member, Public Health and Prevention NYCC said: I accept that the decision to be taken is a very significant one not to be taken lightly. On the other hand, the problem of dealing with the county’s waste is also a big challenge and one which will require substantial investment in order to dispose of it properly. We cannot continue to bury our rubbish in the ground as we have been doing.
The proposed new plant, with its anaerobic digester for food waste, mechanical sorting of remaining recyclables, and an incinerator, will enable us to maximise our recycling rates, divert all our residual waste from landfill, and to convert that waste into heat and power, which could be used locally, like for example at a new residential or commercial development close to the A1.
I am persuaded that the facility, when completed, will give the residents and taxpayers of North Yorkshire and the city of York, a cost-effective and reliable means of dealing with our waste, without burying it underground. The plant will be under our control and will give us a large measure of protection against future inflation and higher costs of landfill, at the same time as providing the opportunity for local jobs.
I am intending to support the recommendation in the report.
Coun Richard Cooper, Leader of Harrogate Borough Council said: The County Council Cabinet has a choice. That choice is to listen to local people and abandon this costly and backward-looking scheme or to press ahead with incomplete financial information and little regard for economic or environmental sense.
Burning our waste is to burn a commodity. There are so many more methods to process waste now that leave by-products that can be used in various ways such as fuel and we should be exploring these. Incineration is a lazy and unimaginative way to dispose of our rubbish.
Worst of all it is expensive. For fifteen years, incineration will cost taxpayers more than simply dumping the waste in a hole in the ground. If the County Council are determined to burn our waste then there are new incinerators all around the region which weren’t available a few years ago. They have spare capacity but we are not presented with any figures for using this spare capacity.
I sense that the financial case has all but collapsed and officers and councillors in their hearts know this. It will cost the County Council £5million to get out of this contract. This is a lot of money but the contract itself will lose tens of millions over the first fifteen years of operation.
It’s time to cut our losses and take an approach which is environmentally better and makes financial sense. I hope that this will happen.
Andrew Jones MP has previously spoken out against the plans and continues to do so.
Conservative Chiefs on the Executive at County Hall will make the final recommendation to Full Council on 24 September 2014.