DEFRA waste plan talks 'disappointing', say council bosses

The site where the incinerator is planned for The North Yorkshire incinerator would be built near Knaresborough

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The government has rejected calls to reconsider its decision to pull funding on three waste treatment projects.

The future of the schemes in North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and Merseyside is in doubt after £217.1m was withdrawn in February.

Council leaders said the outcome of a meeting with environment minister Lord de Mauley was "disappointing".

The councils said millions of pounds of taxpayers' money would be wasted if the projects were shelved.

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) had allocated private finance initiative (PFI) credits to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill in Bradford and Calderdale, North Yorkshire and York, and Merseyside.

But in February the funding was withdrawn as DEFRA said the projects were no longer needed to meet EU waste targets.

'Second class citizens'

Waste treatment projects

Bradford and Calderdale

  • £62.1m PFI funding would have gone towards a waste incinerator on Bowling Back Lane, Bradford
  • The councils said this would divert 90% of their waste away from landfill

North Yorkshire and York

  • £65m PFI funding would have been used for an incinerator at Allerton Park near Knaresborough

Merseyside

  • The Merseyside and Halton Waste Partnership said £90m of PFI credits would have helped procure new waste treatment facilities

David Green, Labour leader of Bradford Council, said the meeting was "disappointing".

"There appeared to be no movement on the part of the minister or the government," he said.

"They haven't looked at the bigger picture."

North Yorkshire County Council and City of York Council said £6.5m of taxpayers' money had already been spent developing plans for a waste treatment plant near Knaresborough.

The Labour leader of City of York Council, James Alexander, said: "I am unhappy at a second-rate government treating people in York like second class citizens."

A DEFRA spokesperson said: "We will continue to provide commercial and technical advice to those projects that continue with their procurement process."

North Yorkshire County Council and Bradford Council said they would decide whether the projects could still go ahead without government support next month.

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