Allerton Park incinerator plan backed, despite £65m setback

The site of the proposed incinerator

The site of the proposed incinerator

First published in News
Last updated
York Press: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

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offering funding support at that time under a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) equivalent to £65 million, but this was withdrawn unexpectedly in February last year.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

Comments (4)

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8:08am Tue 2 Sep 14

Paul Hepworth says...

Why is York still in bed with NYCC on waste disposal. Is it via the joint Yorwaste organisation, which was inherited when York became a Unitary Authority. Is this scheme intended to replace the equally noxious Harewood Whin site near Rufforth.

Whatever, it seems that we are being dragged into an arrangement which trundles non-recyclable waste for huge distances by road. Surely better by far to do as some other Local Authorities do, and create "Binliner" trains that can take this waste to remote land reclamation sites far more efficiently. Details of current UK schemes are at http://www.freighton
rail.org.uk/CaseStud
yWasteByRail.htm

Are the former quarries that were served by the Weardale and Wensleydale railways suitable? These preserved heritage railways still have connections with Network Rail, and Weardale has recently been used to take out surface mined coal. Sensible to reverse this process by taking non-recyclables to fill massive holes in the ground, which can then be returned to amenity and agricultural uses.
Why is York still in bed with NYCC on waste disposal. Is it via the joint Yorwaste organisation, which was inherited when York became a Unitary Authority. Is this scheme intended to replace the equally noxious Harewood Whin site near Rufforth. Whatever, it seems that we are being dragged into an arrangement which trundles non-recyclable waste for huge distances by road. Surely better by far to do as some other Local Authorities do, and create "Binliner" trains that can take this waste to remote land reclamation sites far more efficiently. Details of current UK schemes are at http://www.freighton rail.org.uk/CaseStud yWasteByRail.htm Are the former quarries that were served by the Weardale and Wensleydale railways suitable? These preserved heritage railways still have connections with Network Rail, and Weardale has recently been used to take out surface mined coal. Sensible to reverse this process by taking non-recyclables to fill massive holes in the ground, which can then be returned to amenity and agricultural uses. Paul Hepworth
  • Score: 27

8:31am Tue 2 Sep 14

uriahh says...

This reporter ought to do some research and not simply quote pro-incinerator propaganda.

Critics have rightly complained that the capacity of the plant was well above that needed, and that was years ago. Since then re-cycling and other measures have reduced on-going and future needed capacity. What will happen, and it has happened elsewhere, is that increasing proportions of the capacity will be taken by separate private and industrial waste, i.e. public funding and public charges via Council Tax will be used as a cross-subsidy for an increasingly lucrative private industry!

The incinerator system is too inefficient and far too expensive compared with other options available - it is yesterday's solution to today's and the future's problems. Far better alternatives are now available and have been for some years,particular with local units and not a centralised plant! What has also not been disclosed is the further massive additional transport costs generated by the longer times and distances to transport waste to the central incinerator and the necessary off-site pre-screening and selection of waste with all the double handling of waste involved off-site prior to delivery to the incinerator. As I understand it, Yorkshire Council taxpayers and UK taxpayers will be paying these additional charges and not the Contractor within his Contract Price.

Yet another public services procurement and engineering **** up, with politicians and interested parties still attempting to cover up their ineptitude and bias!
This reporter ought to do some research and not simply quote pro-incinerator propaganda. Critics have rightly complained that the capacity of the plant was well above that needed, and that was years ago. Since then re-cycling and other measures have reduced on-going and future needed capacity. What will happen, and it has happened elsewhere, is that increasing proportions of the capacity will be taken by separate private and industrial waste, i.e. public funding and public charges via Council Tax will be used as a cross-subsidy for an increasingly lucrative private industry! The incinerator system is too inefficient and far too expensive compared with other options available - it is yesterday's solution to today's and the future's problems. Far better alternatives are now available and have been for some years,particular with local units and not a centralised plant! What has also not been disclosed is the further massive additional transport costs generated by the longer times and distances to transport waste to the central incinerator and the necessary off-site pre-screening and selection of waste with all the double handling of waste involved off-site prior to delivery to the incinerator. As I understand it, Yorkshire Council taxpayers and UK taxpayers will be paying these additional charges and not the Contractor within his Contract Price. Yet another public services procurement and engineering **** up, with politicians and interested parties still attempting to cover up their ineptitude and bias! uriahh
  • Score: 9

11:57am Tue 2 Sep 14

EMCKENNA says...

It is difficult to believe that NYCC and York City Council still wish to commit the residents of North Yorkshire to a £1.4Bn commitment when all the data shows that the incinerator capacity is hugely in excess of what is needed and that waste will have to be imported into the County to feed it. This was recognised when the Government removed the funding. A similar scheme was halted in Bradford when the Government funding was pulled so why are Council Officials still pursuing a hugely expensive and unnecessary capital project at a time when they are cutting into essential services?

This is a huge long term commitment and should not be decided by the Executive Committee alone but should go before whole Council alongside the costed alternatives and capacity requirements, the latter 2 items having changed substantially since the whole scheme was first put out to tender.

All the risk of this project is on local tax payers who will have to stump up the missing Government funds of £65M at a time of severe cutbacks in services. A vanity project of this magnitude makes no sense in times of continued austerity.

EMK
It is difficult to believe that NYCC and York City Council still wish to commit the residents of North Yorkshire to a £1.4Bn commitment when all the data shows that the incinerator capacity is hugely in excess of what is needed and that waste will have to be imported into the County to feed it. This was recognised when the Government removed the funding. A similar scheme was halted in Bradford when the Government funding was pulled so why are Council Officials still pursuing a hugely expensive and unnecessary capital project at a time when they are cutting into essential services? This is a huge long term commitment and should not be decided by the Executive Committee alone but should go before whole Council alongside the costed alternatives and capacity requirements, the latter 2 items having changed substantially since the whole scheme was first put out to tender. All the risk of this project is on local tax payers who will have to stump up the missing Government funds of £65M at a time of severe cutbacks in services. A vanity project of this magnitude makes no sense in times of continued austerity. EMK EMCKENNA
  • Score: 5

2:03pm Wed 3 Sep 14

j100wst says...

Would you spend thousands of pounds on a new car or a holiday or anything else because it was a good deal (in your opinion) whilst you couldn't afford to put pay for the essential services you, your family and your neighbours actually needed on a daily basis?
I doubt it!

Why then are NYCC continuing to proceed with this unnecessary white elephant of a project one day after approving another incinerator in our County? Is it the vanity of the Officers and Executive who have lived with this project over the years and cannot see plain common sense?
A 25 Year financial commitment to burning a reducing supply chain of waste (as recycling increases) at over inflated prices whilst others are already investing in plans to dig up last years landfill is just madness.

Why not provide your constituents with the essential services they need now rather than put funds away to fund the shortfall in this project. There are cheaper alternatives, please take the time, or at least make the effort, to study them rather than just follow the path you set out for yourselves 8 years ago.

Yes, the Executive will "consider" and make their recommendations, and Yes, "Full Council" will "consider" and vote on the Executive Recommendations BUT I would hazard an educated guess that 90% of NYCC Councilors do not understand even 10% of the implications of them whilst raising their arms and voting "Yes"!

JW
Would you spend thousands of pounds on a new car or a holiday or anything else because it was a good deal (in your opinion) whilst you couldn't afford to put pay for the essential services you, your family and your neighbours actually needed on a daily basis? I doubt it! Why then are NYCC continuing to proceed with this unnecessary white elephant of a project one day after approving another incinerator in our County? Is it the vanity of the Officers and Executive who have lived with this project over the years and cannot see plain common sense? A 25 Year financial commitment to burning a reducing supply chain of waste (as recycling increases) at over inflated prices whilst others are already investing in plans to dig up last years landfill is just madness. Why not provide your constituents with the essential services they need now rather than put funds away to fund the shortfall in this project. There are cheaper alternatives, please take the time, or at least make the effort, to study them rather than just follow the path you set out for yourselves 8 years ago. Yes, the Executive will "consider" and make their recommendations, and Yes, "Full Council" will "consider" and vote on the Executive Recommendations BUT I would hazard an educated guess that 90% of NYCC Councilors do not understand even 10% of the implications of them whilst raising their arms and voting "Yes"! JW j100wst
  • Score: 1
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