Campaigners are celebrating and council leaders are furious after the Government appeared to block funding for a controversial waste incinerator in North Yorkshire. The future of the multi-million pound plant at Allerton Park is now in doubt in a row over private finance. Lisa Adlam reports.
Campaigners who spent years fighting plans to build a waste incinerator at Allerton in the North Yorkshire countryside say they're ecstatic tonight after the Government appeared to block funding for its development.
North Yorkshire County Council has reacted with dismay and surprise to what it describes as a Government U-turn over the funding of a new waste recovery plant for the county.
It is now seeking an urgent meeting with the Government following a decision by Defra that it is no longer intending to authorise credits under the Private Finance Initiative to pay for the Allerton Waste Recovery Park.
Council leader councillor John Weighwell said the announcement had come as a complete surprise.
“We have been repeatedly assured throughout the procurement process of Defra’s commitment to PFI credits.
"To be informed now, after the granting of planning consent and the decision of the Government not to call in the planning application for a public inquiry, that the funding commitment is being withdrawn is frankly baffling and disappointing."
The news will be welcomed, however, by campaigners who say the rural site is totally unsuitable for the incinerator.
However, the council says the Government’s decision does not necessarily signal the end of the scheme and that it will now examine all options available to it.
Bob Schofield speaks on behalf of the North Yorkshire Waste Action Group.
Protestors gather at County Hall in Northallerton as councillors meet to decide whether to approve plans for a massive waste incineration plant in at Allerton Park in North Yorkshire.
Councillors in Leeds will meet to discuss plans for an incinerator today.
Members of Leeds Council's executive board are being asked to send the final business case to the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) for approval.
With up to 214,000 tonnes of waste a year expected to go through the facility, at Cross Green Industrial estate, the council stands to make savings of £200 million over 25 years.
But local campaigners who have formed the No2Incinerator group say they will fiercely oppose the plans.