FOUR Yorkshire councils have overcome the first legal hurdle in their attempts to overturn a Government decision to withdraw funds for two waste incinerators.
Bradford and Calderdale Councils have secured permission to bring a judicial review relating to the lost of financial support for their joint plan to build a new waste treatment plant.
A similar case brought by North Yorkshire and York over proposals for a new facility at the Allerton Quarry site near the A1 will be heard at the same time.
The four authorities have complained they face multi-million pound losses after the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) withdraw its support for the two projects without warning earlier this year.
It is thought neither incinerator has a realistic chance of being built in the absence of funding from Whitehall, leaving councils to find alternative ways of dealing with thousands of tonnes of rubbish.
Calderdale Council leader Tim Swift said: “It’s pleasing that the court agrees with us that there is a case to be heard. Defra’s decision left us with no option but to apply for a judicial review.
“The investment in a new waste treatment plant should have led to major savings for council tax payers in both local authorities, yet instead we are now left with major costs and the need to find an alternative solution for our waste.”
Bradford Council had spent an estimated £5m on the incinerator scheme before Ministers backed out. The planned new waste treatment plant, in Bowling Back Lane, Bradford, was expected to process 193,000 tonnes of waste per year.
Andrew Thornton, Bradford Council’s executive member for environment and sport, said: “By its withdrawal of the waste PFI credits at the eleventh hour Defra pulled the rug from under our long-term solution for dealing with the district’s waste in a sustainable way.
“This project would have diverted almost all of our waste away from landfill in the face of rising landfill taxes.”
Defra’s decision was welcomed by environmental campaigners who asked the EU to investigate whether Government funding would breach rules on state aid.