You will have seen in the news that the officers of North Yorkshire County Council have, unsurprisingly, recommended on Monday that NYCC proceed to financial close on the Allerton Park incinerator.
I say ‘unsurprising’ because officers have over the years failed to be swayed by consistent external advice – whether from Government or expert consultants – that the project is not needed and makes no financial sense. It is hard to imagine they would at this stage suffer the loss of face inevitable in a change of mind.
That said, their recommendation to the Executive of North Yorkshire County Council, who will consider the matter at their meeting on 9 September, offers no compelling reasons why the project should continue. For example, the figures are, as you might imagine, skewed in such a way as to suggest a cost saving. Gone, however, are claims of hundreds of millions of pounds being saved: their report reveals modest savings that, if they come to pass at all, will only arise more than a quarter of a century after the incinerator is completed.
Meanwhile they admit it will cost NYCC’s council tax payers tens of millions of pounds over the first several years of its life at a time when swingeing cuts are being made to important council services such as education and care of the elderly.
We will be attending the meeting of the NYCC executive on 9 September to put a number of questions to those leading councillors in an attempt to influence the recommendation they make to the Full Council, which is due to meet on Wednesday 24 September at 2pm to make the final decision about Allerton Park. We will also be talking to individual councillors in the run up to the 24th.
We know that there are a considerable number of NYCC councillors who are opposed to the scheme and others who have very serious doubts. We will be addressing the Full Council with the aim of reinforcing those doubts.
This is, for practical purposes, the last throw of the dice. We are not asking for banners and placards outside County Hall before the Full Council meeting (the councillors themselves come in by a different entrance and by the time media coverage appears, the decision will have been made) although you can bring them if you wish. But we are asking that as many supporters as possible attend the Full Council meeting itself, both to show the strength of opposition and to provide moral support to the councillors who oppose the scheme. We hope that hundreds of you will be able to come. Special arrangements are being made to make sure there will be space inside the building.
I do hope you will feel able to spare your time on Wednesday 24 September and attend the Full Council meeting. It’s at County Hall Northallerton. The meeting starts at 2pm so please get there for 1pm and allow time for parking. It is our last opportunity to try to halt this ridiculous scheme, to which we and the next generation will be shackled at huge cost until the middle of the century.
Thank you for your support