BREAKING: Incinerator plans get the go-ahead

The Veolia Incinerator (Energy Recovery Facility) in Sheffield
The Veolia Incinerator (Energy Recovery Facility) in Sheffield

How your councillors said they would vote.

North Yorkshire County Councillors gave the go ahead for the Allerton Park waste incinerator plans this evening.

County councillors were asked to vote on the proposal to complete the 25-year waste management contract with AmeyCespa and after hours of debate the majority of councillors voted in favour of the scheme.

The council said the project will add around £220m to the York and North Yorkshire economy over the life of the contract through the creation of new jobs.

A report which councillors considered said although the contract with AmeyCespa no longer benefits from government funding the councils can still expect the contract to provide a combined net benefit of £169 million over the life of the contract.

Opponents criticised the council’s financial calculations and argue there is no need for another incinerator and the technology proposed is outdated.

All of the North Yorkshire County Councillors who sit on the Harrogate District Committee were contacted by the ‘Advertiser Series before the vote and invited to comment:

Coun David Simister (UKIP, Bilton and Nidd Gorge) NO

“I’m voting no, and so is my fellow UKIP county councillor, Sam Cross. We are both against this project as we believe the financial risks associated with this vanity project are too great. Tying the tax payers of North Yorkshire into a 25 year contract is madness.”

Coun Richard Cooper (Con, Harrogate Central Division) NO

“I am voting against the Allerton Waste Recovery Park.

The County Council is proposing to spend £1.4billion on a scheme that doesn’t save us a penny for 15 years on the Council’s own figures. In fact in the first 15 years it costs us tens of millions more than putting waste in landfill. There are enough incinerators near to North Yorkshire to burn all our waste if that is what we want to do. We should use them - not build another.

“The best approach is to use modem methods of recycling and waste recovery to use our waste as a resource. I do not know why this is not being pursued.”

Coun Bill Hoult (Lib Dem, Knaresborough) NO

“I remain unconvinced that the Allerton Waste plant is the way forward, the movement across Europe is to increase recycling from 50 per cent to 70 per cent. With other private incinerators being approved locally the risk of overcapacity is a real threat to its viability. I will be voting against.”

Coun John Savage (Liberal, Ainsty Division) NO

“I will be voting no. Outdated method of the disposal of waste, more cleaner, environmentally friendly methods are now available, for first 10/15 years more expensive than land fill and possibly no cost savings ever. A complete white elephant and a tax burden to all in North Yorkshire and York for next 25 plus years.”

Coun Robert Windass (Con, Boroughbridge) NO

“Firstly, I must stress that I do not have a problem with the proposed site at Allerton Park. I do however firmly believe that business plan which we have to vote upon next Wednesday is not good value for Council Tax payers. I cannot see myself voting for this scheme as set out.”

Coun Margaret Atkinson (Con, Masham and Fountains) UNDECIDED

“I am still listening to both sides of the argument. I shall wait until the chamber debate before deciding. That is the way it should be.”

Coun Peter Horton (North Yorkshire Independent, Ripon South) NO

- “I have been to the presentation on the plans by the council and it seemed convincing, but I am very conscious of letters from people who oppose the plan which go into lots of technical detail. There is so much opposition that I don’t think we should go forward with it. We are there to represent our communities so don’t think I can vote in favour.”

Coun Margaret-Ann de Courcey-Bayley (Lib Dem, Starbeck) NO

“I have instinctively been against this from the very beginning. The £740 million worries me a great deal because there are other options. Financially there is a big difference from what we were promised to now and I am just not happy with the technology. I think I will vote against the plans.”

Coun Michael Harrison (Con, Lower Nidderdale and Bishop Monkton) YES

“The decision is now purely down to the financial case for the taxpayer. NYCC must have a long term plan for its waste disposal, and the decision is either to proceed with the scheme as planned, or scrap the whole proposal and start again. There is no middle ground option, or room for deferral. The debate about the technology, the incineration aspect and the planning process has already taken place. The remaining question is about financial viability. I think financially this is in the best long term interests of NYCC taxpayers and intend to support the recommendations.”

Coun Anne Jones (Lib Dem, Knaresborough) NO

“I intend to vote against. After considering all the details I remain unconvinced that the proposal stacks up. There are plans to increase recycling targets, this must impact on generated waste for the incinerator. If extra product needs be carried from other areas the potential HGV movements are of concern. We already have an Air Quality Management Area at Bond End and other parts of the District.”

Coun Don Mackenzie (Con, Saltergate) YES

“I firmly believe that, from where we are today, the best solution is the AWRP proposal, which gives us and our taxpayers the only certain way of dealing with our waste within an affordable budget. I do not agree with those who argue that we should send our waste to be dealt with elsewhere. Not only would that course of action leave us at the mercy of pricing beyond our control, but it also poses the question: why should we shirk the responsibility of dealing with our own waste ourselves?”

Coun Jim Clark (Con, Harlow) was unable to attend the vote today as he has Mayoral duties.


Allerton Park Incinerator - years of debate and concerns

l 2006 - North Yorkshire County Council and York City Council worked together to prepare an outline business case for a waste incinerator which was submitted to Defra (Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs). This document was the basis for the successful application for £65million Private Finance Initiative (PFI) credits.

l September 2007 - North Yorkshire County Council and York City Council publish a notice inviting companies to tender for a long-term contract to manage the final treatment of York and North Yorkshire’s residual household waste.

l December 2007 - Allerton Park is named by the councils as one of 28 preferred sites for a waste management plant alongside, Flaxby and Farnham Quarry sparking concern from Knaresborough residents .

l January 2008 - A shortlist of four participating companies was produced. These companies were invited to submit detailed solutions to the councils. AmeyCespa was then selected as the councils’ preferred bidder for the contract.

l May 2010 - Concerns that ‘the effects of the controversial project would be felt for generations to come’ were raised by then County Council John Savage (Liberal, Ainsty) at a three hour summit at Allerton Castle

lJune 2010 - The Allerton Park site was officially named as the proposed site for the proposed incinerator. The council said the centre would be operational by 2014.

l December 2010 - Details of a £1bn contract agreed between North Yorkshire County Council and AmeyCespa are revealed.

l 2011 - Campaign groups, York Residents Against Incineration (YRAIN) and North Yorkshire Waste Action Group (NYWAG) step up their protests. Over 10,000 people sign a petition opposing the plans.

l October 2012 - NYCC’s planning committee voted nine to two to approve the planning application for the incinerator after a marathon six-and-a-half hour meeting.

l February 2013 - Defra withdrew £65million PFI credits allocation and the Council will now work with AmeyCespa on the final stage of the project leading to Financial Close.

l January 2014 - NYCC and York Council drop a legal challenge against the Government’s withdrawal of support.

l September 2014 - NYCC executive backs the plans.Extraordinary meeting of full council called.