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Critics urge councils to look at Allerton alternatives

MPs and parliamentary candidates have attacked a decision by two councils to press ahead with a controversial incinerator in Yorkshire.

Councillors from North Yorkshire County Council and the City of York Council voted 38 to 17 at a special meeting on 24 September in favour of moving plans for an incinerator at Allerton to the financial closing phase.

The Allerton Waste Recovery Park is part of a 25-year contract between the councils and AmeyCespa which has been on hold since 2005 due to funding and legal difficulties.

In 2013, Defra withdrew credits for the project, saying it expected the UK to have sufficient capacity to meet the targets without new schemes such as Allerton.

Critics of the councils’ support to proceed include Andrew Jones (pictured), the Conservative MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, who said: “The Government withdrew support for the project because there is plenty of incineration capacity around the edges of North Yorkshire. So why spend an eye-watering amount of cash building yet more capacity?”

Jones claimed the Allerton Waste Recovery would cost £1.2bn over 25 years and not save money for 15 years and called on the councils to look at other incinerating options that were not available when the project began in 2005.

“They need to be getting prices for fixed long-term cost-effective contracts with current operators. These options should be put before councillors.”

He doubted the Allerton plant would prove to be good value for money and suggested the decision had made made without consideration of the full facts.

He said: “It is difficult to see how councillors can make a balanced decision without that information [about other options]. Councillors should not take such an important decision without being certain it was good value for money and that they have adequate information about all the alternatives. They should insist they get it before going any further.”

Liberal Democrat Helen Flynn, the prospective MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, took to Twitter to voice her opposition to the decision, saying it was “financial madness” and that the figures involved “do not stack up”.

Toby Horton, UKIP’s candidate for Thirsk & Malton, said: “The project is being steamrollered through in defiance of the Government’s stated aims of localism and sustainable development.”

In a statement, North Yorkshire County Council said the Allerton Waste Recovery Plant “would result in a significant reduction in North Yorkshire’s and York’s ‘carbon footprint’, provide a boost to the economy, and produce enough electricity to power a town the size of Harrogate”.

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