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"Millions of Pounds" of Cuts in North Yorkshire and York after Incinerator Funding Pulled


1:46pm 21st February 2013
(Updated 2:31pm 21st February 2013)

The leader of York Council says there will be "millions of pounds" of cuts to services in North Yorkshire and York after the government removed funding for the Allerton Park Incinerator.

James Alexander says the authority is considering taking the government to court to get the decision to remove PFI funding credits reversed.

He tells Minster FM it is now "unlikely" the planned new rubbish incinerator will go ahead.

The furious council leader says he was not even told of the decision to remove the funding.

But contracts have already been signed with a company to run the incinerator by North Yorkshire County Council and the City of York Council.

James Alexander says there will now have to be a "large amount" of cuts to services to pay the company which would run the incinerator and that savings on landfill tax planned would not be met.

North Yorkshire County Council says it is seeking an urgent meeting with the Government after the decision by Defra not to authorise credits under the Private Finance Initiative to pay for the Allerton Waste Recovery Park.

“This announcement has come as a complete surprise to us,” said County Councillor John Weighell, the Leader of North Yorkshire County Council.

“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of the Government not to call in the planning application for a public inquiry, that the funding commitment is being withdrawn is frankly baffling and disappointing.

“We have undergone a lengthy procurement process of more than five years, and Defra has been closely involved in that process – even to the extent of providing a permanent liaison officer at senior level.  At no stage in that period, during which there have been continuing assessments to ensure that the scheme remains viable, value for money, and necessary, has any issue been raised by the Government.  There have been repeated indications from Government throughout this period that the scheme will be funded through PFI .

“To make this unexpected announcement, without consulting with us and without warning, is extremely disappointing.”

The county council emphasises the Government’s decision does not necessarily mean the end of the scheme. 

“The treatment solutions included in the Allerton Waste Recovery Park scheme would allow us to move away from having to rely on landfill to deal with the household waste that remains after waste reduction, reuse and recycling activities have taken place,” said a spokesman.

“We will now examine all the options available to us, to determine how to move forward in the light of this announcement by Defra.”

The Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs said in a statement:

“We are investing £3.6 billion in 29 waste infrastructure projects.  This will reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill, promote recycling and stimulate economic growth.  We now expect to have sufficient infrastructure in England to enable the UK to meet the EU target of reducing waste sent to landfill. Consequently the decision has been taken not to fund the remaining three projects.

This does not necessarily mean the three projects will stop. That will be a decision for the Local Authorities concerned. We will continue to provide commercial and technical advice to those projects that continue with their procurement process”.

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