PLANS to press ahead with a £1.4 billion waste incinerator for York and North Yorkshire have been blasted by an MP and a leading campaigner against the project.

The Press reported yesterday that North Yorkshire County Council officers had concluded that the waste plant at Allerton Park, near Knaresborough, still presented the most effective way of dealing with the disposal of waste, despite the withdrawal of Government funding support last year.

Senior councillors at the authority and at City of York Council are being recommended to press on with the project by the officials, who came to their conclusions after conducting a thorough financial and environmental assessment to see if it was still viable.

But Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones claimed yesterday that going ahead with the plant would represent a 'poor' decision, saying: "Councillors will be locking our area in to an expensive and unnecessary project.

“Recycling is increasing; waste going to landfill is decreasing – we are going in the right direction. Burning our waste is the wrong call.

“Instead, we should be viewing waste as a resource and investing in re-using and recycling it.

“Incineration is already an old technology. There are other ways of dealing with waste. I hope, even at this late stage, that sense prevails.”

Richard Lane, a leading member of York Residents Against Incineration, a campaign group which was very active between 2005 and 2010, when it organised a 1,000 signature petition and a number of large public meetings, also spoke of his incredulity at the officers' conclusions.

"It's incredible," he said. "It's beyond belief that they are resurrecting this idea."

He claimed that the plans, which have met with stiff opposition from residents, parish councils and councillors in the Allerton area, were outdated and would harm efforts to further increase recycling and composting.

He was also concerned that while there would be strict limits on emissions from the incinerator, things could go wrong, leading to pollution.