Incinerator campaign 'backed by politicians'

CAMPAIGNERS have vowed to continue to fight controversial proposals for an incinerator in North Yorkshire after being reassured they have a wave of support from leading politicians.

The biggest contract ever awarded by councils in North Yorkshire was approved last month to build the new waste management plant at Allerton Park, between York and Harrogate.

The plans have sparked an outcry from villagers, although they have been re-assured that they have the backing of some of the county's most senior politicians.

North Yorkshire County Council's deputy leader John Watson voted against awarding the contract as he claimed cheaper solutions are available at a time when the authority is having to make cutbacks of more than 69m.

The MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, Andrew Jones, has been a staunch opponent of the scheme and has claimed more emphasis should be placed on increasing recycling rates rather than incineration.

He is pursuing the fight to block the incinerator proposals in Westminster and has assured campaigners that they have the support of MPs in North Yorkshire.

North Yorkshire County Council and York Council both approved the plans last month to award the 1bn contract for the waste management plant to an international firm, AmeyCespa.

The plant is aimed at saving taxpayers up to 320m over 25 years by avoiding landfill taxes. It will use mechanical sorting and anaerobic digestion to produce green energy, but the incinerator is the most controversial element.

Campaigners have now appointed specialist planning consultants and have started fund-raising to finance the battle to prevent a planning application being granted later this year.

Marton cum Grafton Parish Council's chairman, Antony Long, said: "Those opposed to this scheme have to be able to meet this formidable challenge with the best team possible."