North Yorkshire’s controversial waste incinerator plant plans for Allerton Park have got the go ahead from councillors.
The county council’s planning committee voted in favour of proposals to build a multi-million pound waste treatment plant, including an incinerator, on the site near Knaresborough.
After a six and a half hour meeting, members of the planning committee voted nine to two in favour of proposals.
Protesters gathered outside the county hall in Northallerton from 9am this morning, and local residents and parish councillors spoke up against the scheme during the meeting.
The incinerator - the size of Wembley Stadium – is expected to cost £1.4bn over 25 years and would deal with up to 320,000 tonnes of rubbish a year and be able to heat more than 40,000 homes.
Opponents claim it is outdated, too expensive and environmentally harmful. They say it would blight an area which they have described as the Gateway to the Dales.
But the two local authorities in favour of the scheme, North Yorkshire County Council, and York Council say the scheme will cut their waste bills.
A 10,000 name petition opposing the plant was presented to the county council two years ago, but council officials have now said councillors should not give the petition “any weight” because it was submitted long before the formal planning application was put in.
Planning officers say it is inevitable the plant will have an impact on the surrounding countryside and, although it does not comply with some planning policies, this did not outweigh the need for the development and its public benefits.
Campaigners hope the Secretary of State will “call in” the decision, leading to a public inquiry.