Concerns raised over viability of controversial plans for incinerator

A COUNCIL has maintained it is fully committed to hugely contentious plans for a multi-million pound waste incinerator despite claims that changes in government policy have placed its viability in jeopardy.

North Yorkshire County Council admitted yesterday it has had to revise its business case for the waste management plant after Ministers instigated changes in national policy.

At a full council meeting today, the deputy leader of the council’s Liberal Democrats, Bill Hoult, is due to call into question whether the plans should be pursued. He will claim maintaining the status quo is the most economical way forward.

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Coun Hoult claimed “to blindly go forward” could unnecessarily cost taxpayers millions of pounds.

But a council spokeswoman stressed the plant, which is proposed for a site between York and Harrogate at Allerton Park, is the best option available.

She added: “Models have been updated to remove landfill allowances from the business case, following a change in Government policy to revise tonnages and bring finance terms up to date. The conclusions that the project is both affordable and presents value for money remain unchanged.”

She claimed Government officials had scrutinised the project and “remain content to support it”.

The plant is aimed at ensuring both the county council and York Council reach a target of recycling at least 50 per cent of waste by 2020. It will use mechanical sorting and anaerobic digestion to produce green energy.

But the incinerator is the most contentious element of the scheme, which is projected to save taxpayers up to £320m over 25 years.