York Green Party

Green Cllr Dave Taylor Speaks against wasteful Allerton Incinerator project

30 October 2012

On 30th October 2012 Cllr Dave Taylor spoke against the North Yorkshire Incinerator at the final planning meeting where the decision on the scheme was taken. Here is his speech in full:

I'm Councillor Dave Taylor, from the City of York. Some years ago I worked as a Council Officer and prior to working for the City of York Council I worked for a major Waste Management company.

My Council, like North Yorkshire County Council, has previously backed these plans for the incineration project, and yet I was appalled that they refused to even examine a 'Zero Waste' alternative which might have saved our Councils, in a time of austerity, around £300M.

The new National Planning Policy Framework, as you know, makes a presumption in favour of sustainable development. That's good. We would all want to see that. However, the application before you is far from being a sustainable project - in many different ways, it fails to adhere to the NPPF. For example:

  • It would create immense numbers of new vehicle movements to bring waste to the site from all over North Yorkshire, rather than seek localised solutions.
  • It would not conserve or enhance the natural environment or reduce pollution.
  • It would not conserve heritage assets, but have an adverse impact on the setting of the nearby Allerton Castle.
  • It would not support economic growth and job creation in the way that a greater reliance on alternative technologies of reduce / re-use / recycling would do.

Moreover, the development does not appear to be financially sustainable, and it would be unwise for the Planning Committee to accept a scheme if it can only be made viable by the promise of more taxpayers' money to underwrite it if the waste volumes cannot be found.

Measuring from 2003 when the project was in its infancy, the gap between the projected rates of waste available and the actual amounts of waste available has widened considerably. By 2010 this gap of expectation was 130,000 tonnes. This incinerator facility is significantly oversized.

The applicants claim they will fill that gap with commercial waste, but commercial waste has also declined during the recession.

On top of this, North Yorkshire is ringed by other applications for waste incinerators. Some have been defeated, thankfully, but if others go ahead, then this site will be in competition with them for commercial waste. Rates for the incineration of commercial waste may be reduced to attract that business, while the Council continues to pay the contractually-agreed rate. Taxpayers end-up subsidising the disposal of commercial waste in an environment where our Councils have agreed to an oversized incinerator against a background of growing incinerator capacity.

Let me remind you that Cheshire County Council rejected an application for an incinerator due to overcapacity in the region. You can do the same.

I believe you owe it to the taxpayers of York and North Yorkshire to reject this oversized, over-priced, and unnecessary contraption, and seek a more financially sustainable solution. You owe it to the beautiful countryside and heritage of North Yorkshire to reject this proposal and seek a more environmentally-friendly solution, and you owe it to the health and well-being of the people of Harrogate Metropolitan Borough, to join them in rejecting this inappropriate technology, and seek a twenty-first century solution. We can't tie ourselves into such a lengthy and expensive commitment, based on such inaccurate and speculative waste predictions.

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