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City of York Council’s £245k bill for Allerton Park incinerator consultation work
CONSULTANTS were paid £245,000 by council chiefs in York last year to work on plans for a controversial waste incinerator in the North Yorkshire countryside.
City of York Council footed the six-figure bill for legal and professional advice and other costs as part of its role in proposals for the £1.4 billion Allerton Waste Recovery Park, planned for a quarry site next to the A1(M) between York and Harrogate.
The project is a joint venture between the authority and North Yorkshire County Council, who say it will provide the solution to their waste problems and reduce the amounts they have to pay in landfill tax, as well as producing enough energy to power thousands of homes.
If approved by the county council, the incinerator would be operated by AmeyCespa through a 25-year-deal, which is backed by £65 million in private finance initiative funding.
The York council’s accounts for 2011/12 have shown £245,171 was spent on “professional fees” during the year, on top of the £400,940.76 paid out to consultants the year before.
Campaigners who claim the incinerator is outdated, too expensive and will damage the environment claimed public money was being wasted on the scheme, which is expected to be debated by county councillors before the end of the year.
The expenditure represents York’s share of the annual project costs, for which it was invoiced by the county council.
A spokeswoman said it related to fees for legal matters, mineral surveys, technical, procurement and planning advice, land costs and “miscellaneous” expenses, such as employee costs, travel expenses, printing and stationery.
“When North Yorkshire County Council entered into a commercial agreement for the provision of a long-term waste management service contract with AmeyCespa, City of York Council entered a joint waste management agreement with the county council,” she said.
“Under the agreement, City of York Council pays 25 per cent of costs incurred. The professional costs relate to technical advice not available within the council.”
Richard Lane, of the York Residents Against Incineration action group, said: “If the incinerator was a sane and sustainable solution, it would be worth the money, but given that this is obsolete technology, it cannot be justified.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg and costs will keep going up and up. No alternatives have ever been costed, and this expenditure is unjustifiable in this economic climate.”