York & North Yorkshire

No government support for Allerton Park incinerator

Proposed waste to energy incinerator. Artists impression.
Image caption The incinerator was planned for a location in countryside between York and Harrogate

Plans for a waste incinerator have been thrown into doubt after the government withdrew support.

The incinerator, at Allerton Park near Knaresborough, was to have been built using £65m of private finance initiative (PFI) funding.

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said the scheme was no longer needed to meet EU waste targets.

Protesters, who campaigned against the scheme, said it was "great news".

The proposal was developed by the county council and the City of York Council to reduce the amount of household waste they were sending to landfill.

The plant, expected to cost £1.4bn over 25 years, was granted planning consent last year.

Opponents, including the North Yorkshire Waste Action Group, have always claimed it was too big and was designed to burn far more waste than North Yorkshire produces.

Bob Schofield, from the group, said: "Clearly Defra and the treasury have decided this scheme does not represent value for money which is what we have been saying all along.

"This is great news and the taxpayers of North Yorkshire will no longer be saddled with a scheme that is expensive, far bigger than it need be and environmentally a complete waste of a valuable resource."

Image caption Campaigners opposed to the plans said the decision would save taxpayers money

The Conservative-controlled county council said it was "baffled" by the decision and was seeking an urgent meeting with the government.

Defra said the withdrawal of its PFI credits, which would have provided the county council with the initial capital funding for the scheme, was because it was backing 29 other schemes across England and Wales.

It added: "We now expect to have sufficient infrastructure in England to enable the UK to meet the EU target of reducing waste sent to landfill."

The two councils had awarded the contract to build and manage the plant to Amey Cespa.

The company said it remained "fully committed" to the project.

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