The first hearing of an application to quash the planning consent for an energy from waste facility at Allerton Park, North Yorkshire, will take place at the end of July.
If the court decides in favour of the residents’ association North Yorkshire Waste Action Group (NYWAG) on 30-31 July, a judicial review on the granting of the planning permission will be opened. This could further delay the implementation of the project, and potentially leading to its dismissal, Bob Schofield, NYWAG spokesperson, told MRW.
NYWAG argues that the incinerator, which is planned to be built as part of the Allerton Waste Recovery Park, would cause harm to the landscape, the environment and the wider economy and would discourage recycling.
In 2012 the group commissioned a study to consultancy Eunomia, which concluded that the capacity of the Allerton Park could be up to 50% larger than the waste generated every year in the in the North Yorkshire County and City of York councils’ area in the first years of operation, and up to 100% larger by 2039.
The development of the waste recovery park is part of a 25-year contract between North Yorkshire County and City of York councils and AmeyCespa. The plan includes an incinerator licensed to process up to 320,000 tonnes of waste per year, an anaerobic digestion facility and an ash processing plant, according to an environment permit granted by the Environment Agency on 18 July.
As well as a potential battle with residents, funding challenges could also pose an obstacle to the implementation of the project. The project was supposed to be funded with some £65m Private Finance Initiative (PFI) credits, or £125m for the length of the contract. However, Defra withdrew the funding in February 2013, as the department said there was already sufficient capacity in the UK to meet the 2020 landfill diversion targets.
The councils filed a request for a judicial review on Defra’s decision in May, and said that it would continue working with AmeyCespa to finalise the details of their long-term waste management project.
In a response to a freedom of information (FOI) request dated May 2013 and available on the public authority data disclosure website WhatDoTheyKnow?.com, the City of York Council said: “The project is still affordable and offers Value for Money at this stage.”
Over £6m in consultancy fees have been spent by the two councils to support the waste procurement since 2005/2006, the council said.
The FOI request also asked the council how much would it cost to cancel the contract with AmeyCespa. The council replied that the termination provisions have been redacted from the publicly available project agreement and cannot be disclosed to avoid affecting the commercial interest of the two parties.
North Yorkshire County Council declined MRW’s requests for comment on the current situation, on whether the project will go ahead, and how the funding gap will be bridged.