A QUARRY site next to a stately home near Knaresborough has been named this week by North Yorkshire County Council and the City of York Council as the proposed location for a major multi-million pound recycling and waste disposal facility to serve the whole of North Yorkshire.
Plans to develop the state-of-the-art facility at Allerton Quarry, to be known as Allerton Waste Recovery Park, are part of a joint initiative by the two councils to cut landfill waste and boost recycling.
However, the plans have been branded 'financial lunacy' by campaigners opposed to the waste plant, the first of its kind in England, and particularly contentious is the 260 foot chimney to be built at the site to disperse emissions from a thermal treatment plant generating electricity.
Chairman of North Yorkshire-based pressure group, DISC, which was set up to block incineration plans, David Andrews said: "We need to be more ambitious to achieve far higher recycling targets rather than relying on this one plant for waste management in North Yorkshire over the next 25 years.
"It really is financial lunacy that we are being tied into this scheme over the long term."
The facility will be developed on the existing quarry, landfill and concrete production site. Major international contractor AmeyCespa has been named as the preferred bidder for the contract which is designed to allow the councils to reach their target of recycling 50 per cent of waste by 2020 and save the two authorities around 320 million on their combined waste management bills over 25 years.
The announcement follows government confirmation that it has approved the awarding of 65 million in PFI credits – a form of grant funding – for the contract.
Bill Woolley, director of City Strategy, City of York Council, said: "Like many councils, we have historically relied on landfill as a cheap and local way of getting rid of our rubbish, but landfill sites are running out and their continued use is not sustainable environmentally or financially."
The plant will extract recyclable materials from residual waste, extract food and organic waste and generate electricity from the remaining untreatable waste that cannot be recycled, with the residue used to create construction materials.
Bill Jarvis, director for the Allerton Waste Recovery Park project, said: "Our proven track record in selecting and operating recycling and recovery technology will enable us to construct the most suitable, cost effective and community-friendly solution to minimise landfill in North Yorkshire and return the benefits from recycling to local communities.
"The biggest benefits will be that Allerton Waste Recovery Park will maximise recycling and avoid over 230,000 tonnes of rubbish a year having to go to landfill. By creating this new waste facility local residents could be saved from unnecessary future rises in council tax."
Seventy long-term jobs will be created, as well as support training through a partnership with local colleges, with construction jobs peaking at 400 over the next two to three years as the project develops.
An education and visitor centre has been incorporated into the facility, and information on the facility's performance – including emissions data – will be publicly available.
Speaking about the plans, Don Mackenzie, Cabinet Member, Planning, Transport and Economic Development at Harrogate Borough Council, said: "The council recognises the challenge facing North Yorkshire County and City of York councils in their efforts to deal with unrecycled waste, and to avoid the use of landfill disposal.
"A proportion of that unrecycled waste comes from the black bags which Harrogate Council's refuse vehicles pick up from homes throughout the district every week. We contribute to the problems of waste disposal, and will play our part in their solution. As the Local Planning Authority, Harrogate will be a principal consultee in the planning application."
A public consultation is now under way before the two councils meet in autumn to decide if the proposals should get the go-ahead.
"If they agree, the councils will make the contract award to AmeyCespa," said Richard Flinton, chief executive designate, North Yorkshire County Council. "They will then submit a planning application for the facility. If successful, the plant will be operational in 2014."
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Weather for Wetherby
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 11 C to 18 C
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