A controversial taxpayer-funded £1.2 billion energy-from-waste recovery plant and incinerator is continuing to have a mixed performance more than four years after being launched.
A report has been released into Allerton Park Waste Recovery plant, which takes 220,000 tonnes of waste collected by councils in York and North Yorkshire and 50,000 tonnes of business waste annually.
This reveals it is significantly exceeding its target for diverting waste from landfill, achieving almost 90 per cent.
However, it is recycling and composting just over one per cent of the waste, against a target of five per cent.
North Yorkshire and City of York councils awarded a contract to private company AmeyCespa to create the facility in 2014 following a high-profile battle with residents of villages surrounding the plant, such as Marton cum Grafton, near Boroughbridge.
Last year councillors raised concerns over the plant’s recycling performance after it emerged it had never met its recycling targets, leading the councils to levy £653,000 in performance deductions for the first three years of its operations.
An officer’s report to a meeting of the county council’s transport, economy and evironment scrutiny committee next Thursday shows the plant’s recycling performance has marginally worsened during the last year.
The report states issues with the mechanical treatment equipment meant sometimes the plant had to be run in by-pass mode, which meant recyclates were not extracted.
The report states following maintenance works earlier this year the mechanical treatment performance has significantly improved, with Amey forecasting recycling performance to rise to almost half the targeted proportion.
However, the amount of unplanned downtime at the energy from waste plant significantly improved this year, falling from 61 days to 29, which allowed more waste to be processed.
Diverted from landfill
The report states the latest figures show the best year to date for landfill diversion and energy from waste.
The report concludes further opportunities are being explored with the councils, Amey and Yorwaste seek “to optimise the types of waste delivered to the plant” to secure continued performance improvements.
The county council’s executive member for open to business, Councillor Derek Bastiman, said while the recycling target remained well below what was wanted, the lack of improvement this year had been largely due to unforeseen mechanical issues.
He said the energy from waste scheme had proven to be a good investment by the councils.
Ouseburn division councillor Arnold Wareneken said any profits from the scheme should be used to increase recycling rates.
He said: “We need to recycle the money as well – it just needs a bit more investment. The problem I see is we are not collecting food waste separately or enough food waste from industry. All local authorities are meant to be collecting food waste.
“We have got to make it more easier for people to put compostable waste in wheelie bins.”