SENIOR York and North Yorkshire councillors are being urged to press ahead next week with controversial plans for a £1.4 billion pound incinerator.

The plant at Allerton Park, near Knaresborough, which would dispose of non-recycled household and a small amount of commercial and industrial waste, was agreed in principle in December 2010 by North Yorkshire County Council and City of York Council.

The Government was offering funding support at that time under a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) equivalent to £65 million, but this was withdrawn unexpectedly in February last year.

A spokeswoman for the authorities said county officers had since been conducting a thorough financial and environmental assessment to see if it was still viable and still presented the most effective way of dealing with the disposal of waste.

"Their findings, which will be considered by the county council’s executive next Tuesday, support the viability of the scheme and suggest that it is the most effective way of dealing with waste in the long term," she said.

Cllr Chris Metcalfe, executive member for waste management at the county authority, said the Government's withdrawal of the PFI credits had presented the councils with a considerable challenge.

“However, after examining the project in great detail, the council’s officers have determined that over the 25 years of the contract, the proposal is still the best long term available solution to the disposal of waste generated in North Yorkshire and York," he said.

"The recommendation is that we should now proceed to the final stage of the process."

A report to York's cabinet, which also considers the issue next week, said that while the contract no longer benefitted from PFI credits, the councils could expect the contract to provide a combined net benefit of £169 million over its life.

Cllr Dafydd Williams, York's Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance, said the Government's withdrawal of funding last year had been 'hugely disappointing' but the council remained focussed on delivering the Allerton Waste Recovery Park by 2016/17, and was working closely with the county council to finalise the details of the project.

However, York Green councillor Dave Taylor, a vociferous opponent of the scheme, claimed it wasn't financially viable and pressing ahead with it would be 'disastrous' for the people of York and North Yorkshire.