Allerton Incinerator ‘costs don’t stack up’

kna  Incinerator campaigners outside Allerton Park Quarry.  (130227M3b)
kna Incinerator campaigners outside Allerton Park Quarry. (130227M3b)

Campaigners opposing North Yorkshire County Council’s (NYCC) plans for a waste incinerator at Allerton Park say the scheme could lose £175million.

Robert Schofield and Brian Cooper from the parish councils group told the Harrogate Area Committee that continuing with the plans would cost £157million more than if the council carried on with its current waste disposal.

Mr Schofield said: “We have argued from the outset in 2008 that the project is not financially sound. Since then the position has worsened.”

The opposition group say that the loss of the Government PFI grant has lost the scheme £126million and that the three year delay to the project has cost £50million per year.

Mr Schofield added: “NYCC is under severe budgetary pressure and is cutting services. Abandoning this unaffordable plan would produce much needed savings.”

Mr Cooper said: “No wonder NYCC is short of money for services.”

County Coun John Savage (Liberal, Ainsty) said: “It just doesn’t stack up does it? The project is no longer affordable when common sense is applied.”

Council bosses said they believe support can still be found for the building of a controversial waste incinerator plant in North Yorkshire after the Government withdrew funding for the scheme.

Opponents of the scheme had hoped NYCC would rethink the scheme after they, along with York Council , dropped a legal challenge against the Government’s withdrawal of support earlier this year.

In a report to area committee the corporate director for business and environmental services, David Bowe said: “The loss of PFI credits was disappointing and represents a significant financial challenge for the project but recent improvements in the funding market are likely to go some way to mitigate this loss.”

The council awarded a 25-year management contract to private company AmeyCespa in 2010, which opponents have said is too rigid.

David Bowe said the council couldn’t just stop the plans. He said: “This is not a realistic option as we are in a legal binding contract.”

The Harrogate Area Committee resolved to call for the final decision on the Allerton Park Incinerator, expected to be taken in October this year, to be made by the full council, not just the Executive as was agreed in 2010. Coun Bernard Bateman (Con, Ripon North) said: “There is a vast difference between the executive and the council.”