Legal fight planned over waste plans

Opponents of hugely contentious plans for a multi-million pound waste incinerator in North Yorkshire are planning to launch a legal battle.

Council bosses have been developing a £250m project for an incinerator at Allerton Quarry, near Knaresborough, despite opposition from protesters who have vociferously opposed the scheme.

The Government recently stunned York, North Yorkshire, Calderdale and Bradford Councils when they were told cash earmarked for their two incinerator projects would not be made available.

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Members of the North Yorkshire Waste Action Group (NYWAG) are concerned, however, that while the Government may have pulled funding, planning permission has already been granted for the Allerton Quarry site and they are fearful the scheme could still be carried forwards.

They are now planning to launch a legal battle, challenging the decision to give the scheme the go-ahead.

Last night Marton cum Grafton Parish Council held an extraordinary meeting to decide whether to back plans to take the legal battle to the High Court in London for a judicial review. While such a move would prove extremely costly, campaigners have amassed a fighting fund worth several tens of thousands of pounds.

Bob Schofield, spokesman of NYWAG, said the judicial review was being considered as the Government’s decision was: “not necessarily a fatal blow.”

Following the announcement there was no cash for York and North Yorkshire to develop its scheme, or for Bradford and Calderdale to develop theirs, the councils questioned why both projects - partnerships with private sector companies - had been allowed to get to such an advanced stage.

If the schemes do not go ahead, the four councils will have to re-think how they deal with thousands of tonnes of waste.

The Government has said the schemes are no longer needed to meet EU landfill targets but said its decision does not necessarily mean the projects will stop, rather that is a decision for the local authorities concerned.