Update 14 September 2012
At a recent meeting of North Yorkshire County Council I called upon the Director of Business and Environmental Services to undertake to give an update on the financial status of the Allerton Waste Recovery Site in view of the changes in legislation and falls in domestic rubbish collections.
Predictably the Director refused on the grounds that the information was commercially confidential. However he did confirm that the planning application for the project had been submitted and was expected to be considered by the NYCC Planning Committee on 23 October this year. Further to that he told the meeting that a full evaluation of the value for money aspects of the project would be completed after the planning decision in the new year probably January 2014.
Update 01 August 2012
The date for when the planning application for the Allerton Waste Recovery project will be decided is not now expected to be before the end of October 2012. The consultation period has accordingly been extended to 31 August 2012.
Update 19 July 2012
I put the following question to the Exec member responsible for the Allerton Waste project and append his reply. I believe his reply is disingenous if only because it is just unbelievable that the likely “fines” that the LATS legislation imposed upon the Authority had not been taken into account as part of the financial calculation of the viability of the project. If it was not why was it not? A similar question arises for the sale of LATs which at £50million pounds is a considerable sum of money.
It is my view that there are serious deficiencies in the calculations on a “value for money” basis to place the whole future of the project in jepardy. It is just a matter of when the folly of continuing will be acknowledged.
Question to the Executive Member for Waste Management
Quarterly Meeting of North Yorkshire County Council 18 July 2012
The original calculations for the Allerton Waste Management Contract indicated over 25 years an estimated saving in costs over a “do nothing” solution of approximately £330M (Waste PFI Working Group 13.4)
A major part of the calculation was the existence of the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme (LATS) that amongst other things was expected to place a ceiling on the amount of landfill an authority could utilise without incurring excessive charges. Also if an authority underutilised its LATS allowances these could be traded with other authorities.
In section 8 of the main report to the Executive on the 30 November 2010 it was estimated that over a 10 year period the costs of these penalty charges would be around £120M which one can extrapolate to £300million over a 25 year period. In addition under section 7 of the main report an estimate for the sale of underused LATs was calculated to raise £49M giving a total of £349M attributable to LATS alone. The Government has since repealed the LATS requirements and these benefits and costs no longer apply. It is now clear that the “do nothing” option is a less costly and risky way forward.
Will the Executive Member agree with me that in view of the LATS changes already affecting the cost calculations, the risks involved in relying on Central Government to stick to its promises to increase landfill tax and the risks of escalating costs of the scheme that a substantial re evaluation of the cost benefits of the proposal is required?
Thank you for your question.
LATS was the previous Government’s proposal to implement the Landfill Directive in England, and set out absolute limits on the amount of waste Councils could landfill. As you point out, it also allowed for fines if Councils exceeded their limit.
You refer to Section 8 of the report of 30 Novemebr and a penalty of £120million. This figure was the potential fine to North Yorkshire arising as a consequence of a decision taken not to award the the Contract, and was provided for illustrative purposes. I can confirm that it was not part of the financial assessment of the project.
However the repeal of LATS is relevant in that it removes one of the original drivers to do something different with waste. Government have confirmed on several occasions that landfill tax is now the main fiscal instrument to deliver national obligations under the Landfill Directive and have committed to annual increases until it reaches a FLOOR of £80/tonne in two years time. I firmly believe that it will increase beyond this level on the simple basis that it is not achieving the objective of directing enough waste from landfill.
Update 29 May 2012
Update on Allerton Incinerator
Here are a few interesting developments on the progress of the Allerton Incinerator project by North Yorkshire County Council.
It is considered likely now that the planning application will be considered sometime in September this year and the Planning Committee have made a decision to carry out a site inspection shortly after the officers’ report is available.
It is still not known whether the Secretary of State will “call in” the application, but if he does it is likely to be after the officers’ report is prepared. In any event if it is called in the SoS may require North Yorkshire Planning Committee to decide whether it is “minded” to approve or refuse the application.
The Environment Agency has confirmed its role in regard to the application which is independent of the planning process and guided by the “Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010”. They have said that they will advertise details of any such application widely and undertake intensive engagement with interested organisations and the public. Once they have decided on the application they will consult again on the draft decision.
Briefing by County Council
A briefing has been issued by the County Council on the progress of the project which claims that it considers that there has been no material change that would challenge the decision to enter into the contract taken in December 2010.
It does reveal however that the actual amounts of residual waste are reducing to a greater extent (not specified) than anticipated due it is claimed to the severity of the recession. It is hoped that amounts will increase when moving out of recession and there is expected to be an increase in the amount of commercial waste due to changes in Government legislation. The briefing confirms that :-
“The ultimate test of affordability and value for money will not be made until after planning is determined”
The briefing note is interesting in that it confirms that the Authority still has confidence in its decision taken in December 2010. However, the reduction in the residual waste being produced is of concern if it continues over a number of years due to the commitment to deliver waste for incineration to the operator. The reliance on commercial waste is fraught with difficulty as the example of the Sheffield incinerator indicated (that commercial waste is the “wrong type of waste”). The interesting comment about the ultimate test of affordability may well indicate an “escape route” should the project be abandoned!
Cllr Bill Hoult
Posted 13 September 2011
The Planning Application
The objectors to the Incinerator proposal have asked that the application be called in for consideration by a Government Inspector preferably following a public enquiry. Certainly I can support this call because as a County Councillor I am always uncomfortable when the NYCC (or any Council) makes decisions on its own application particularly when the investment is so important for the future of the Area.
However I have to say that with the current Government proposals to reform planning law to make it easier for developers I am not at all confident that it will work in the favour of objectors.
County Councillor Bill Hoult
POSTED 1 September 2011
Planning Application-Allerton Waste Recovery Park
Communication from Amey Cespa
I have received the following information from Amey Cespa in regard to the Allerton Waste Recovery Plant. There are some amendments to the proposals originally consulted on, primarily in regard to a reduction in height of the chimney.
I would like to take this opportunity to update you on AmeyCespa’s proposals for Allerton Waste Recovery Park, a new waste treatment facility for North Yorkshire.
A planning application has today been submitted to develop the facility on an existing quarry, sited next to a landfill site, near the A1 motorway at Knaresborough.
Submission of the application to North Yorkshire County Council follows over a year of public consultation and community liaison across the county.
During this time AmeyCespa has staged numerous exhibitions, attended meetings and presentations and spoken to residents. As a result of this, we have been able to make a number of improvements to our proposals before submitting the application. These include:
* Reducing the height of the facility’s chimney by 10metres
* Changing the site layout, building design and materials to improve visual aspects. In response to our amendments, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) has stated: “The design has evolved considerably and we welcome the improvements. We think the plant responds well to its setting.”
* Incorporating an Incinerator Bottom Ash processing facility onto the main site to avoid traffic crossing a bridleway
* Improving access arrangements to the site from the A168
* Incorporating existing farm buildings into the proposed development site to create a visitor and education centre
We are committed to maintaining open dialogue with the local community and will continue to meet any interested groups. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any queries.
The planning application has been submitted to North Yorkshire County Council as the Waste Planning Authority. It is anticipated it will take been nine and 12 months for the application to be considered.
The planning application documents will be made publicly available once the application has been validated by planning officers in the coming weeks.
If planning permission is granted, the new facility will become operational by early 2015. AmeyCespa will also submit an Environmental Permit application to the Environment Agency later this year.
We will continue to use our website to update residents and interested groups and we will make the planning application reference number available, via the website, once this is known.
The new facility will give North Yorkshire County Council and City of York Council a significant saving on their current waste management bill – and reduce the amount of North Yorkshire’s household waste going to landfill by at least 90%.
Around half the waste created by York and NorthYorkshire’s residents each year currently goes to landfill, with the rest recycled at the kerbside. Allerton Waste Recovery Park will cut landfill by bringing together a variety of innovative technologies on one site:
* Mechanical treatment – this will remove recyclable items, such as plastic and metals, which have been accidentally put in with general waste.
* Anaerobic digestion – food and organic waste will be extracted to generate renewable energy.
* Energy from Waste – this technology will then treat any rubbish which cannot be recycled, recovering enough electricity to power 40,000 homes and enough aggregates to build at least 12km of road carriageway every year.
AllertonWaste Recovery Park will utilise the most up-to-date and cost effective technologies to deal with York and North Yorkshire’s waste. It will provide a saving – not a cost – for the two local authorities.
Kerbside recycling schemes, provided by City of York Council and the district councils across North Yorkshire, will continue and will not be affected by the Allerton Waste Recovery Park proposals.
Our proposals for Allerton Waste Recovery Park are also in line with the Government’s waste policy. The policy, which was subject to a Review published in June 2011, aims to encourage waste reduction and recycling.
It also contains a principal commitment of Government support for energy from waste where appropriate and for waste which cannot be recycled, as well as positioning Anaerobic Digestion as a positive solution to food waste.
AllertonWaste Recovery Park includes both Anaerobic Digestion and Energy from Waste, as well as Mechanical Treatment to extract any recyclable materials from the waste – allowing us to make the most of waste and provide a comprehensive solution encompassing recycling and energy recovery.
While claims have been made by those opposed to the scheme that cheaper options are available or that we should transport waste elsewhere in the UK, these are simple suggestions which ignore the extensive procurement process involving hundreds of experts that has been undertaken to find the best solution to meet North Yorkshire’s needs.
We are happy to discuss and clarify any comments you may have received from others.
We have also attached a newsletter providing further information. I trust this is helpful and, as mentioned, please do not hesitate to get in touch with any questions.
Site 23, Evolution
County Business Park
Motion-Compliance With Waste and Energy Rules 20 July 2011
At the Council Meeting on the 20 July 2011 a motion was put that basically required that a report be brought to Council to examine the “fit” between NYCC/Amey Cespa Project and :-
i) The Government Waste Strategy 2011
ii) The draft EU Directive 22 June 2011 on energy efficiency COM (2011)370 final 2011/0172 (COD)
iii) The Government Climate Change Regulations
The mover of the motion Cllr John Clarke (Pickering) claimed that aim of the motion was to keep members abreast of guidance and legislational changes that might affect the NYCC incinerator project.
I supported the motion on the grounds that regular reports on these issues were important. The Allerton Waste Management Facility is the biggest single investment the County Council has ever made and we all need to be kept informed whether supporting the project or not.
Unsurprisingly, members of the ruling group did not support the motion and some members expressed their opposition by saying that “the decision has been made” and we should just “get on with it”. An approach that seemed almost lemming like -if we find out that there is a cliff edge ahead should we not try and avoid it?
Interestingly at a very late stage a “members briefing” on the motion was issued which addressed some of the points raised in the motion and which begged the question of why the hostility?
To request a copy of the briefing note contact the Direcorof Business and Environmental Services at County Hall-The title is Members Briefing Note item 12.
Municipal Waste for Landfill 07/July 2011
I have received details of the municipal waste sent to Landfill by North Yorkshire County Council over the last five years, the figures are :-
2006/07- 256,780 tonnes
2007/08 -247,393 tonnes
The figures indicate a fairly constant decline in the region of 10,000 tonnes a year except for 2008/09 which may have special circumstances in relation to collection.
My Vote on the Incinerator
I did undertake to set out my reasons for the way I voted on the Allerton Park Waste management proposal.
After much consideration I voted against the proposal.
I was not unhappy with the incinerator, the process or the chimney and do not believe that there are measurable health risks attached to the outputs from the chimney. I think the cynical “shroud waving” by objectors claiming deadly emissions from the chimney has raised fears amongst some people and that are just disgraceful. I do accept that later on in the campaign that NYWAG did concede that emissions would be very low but by that time the fears had been spread.
As the objectors, in my opinion, mixed their serious points in the pot with what were at best half truths, myths and innuendo, I did not take too much cognisance of their material and conducted my own research as much as possible. As many of you know who emailed me I did respond to most individual mailings and of course I did put much of my research on this website.
What is Incineration
A number of objectors seemed a little confused about the interchangability of “incineration”, “energy from waste” “fuel”and “heat recovery” and made claims that some authorities had decided against incineration because of the use of such terms and such an assumption was just plain wrong. Also incredibly an article in the Sunday Times claimed that we had no need to incinerate because waste could be treated to produce fuel!
Obviously the writer did not understand that the ultimate destination for “fuel” is to be incinerated to produce energy. I think is clear that incineration/ energy recovery has a part to play in waste disposal however it is described
I had concerns about the loss of heat recovery due to isolated site location, this is a considerable energy loss and the company has produced little explanation as to how it could harvest this heat.
I believe that the facility is oversized for North Yorkshire/York current municipal waste production and I am concerned that no account has been taken of the existing pyrolisisplant in Scarborough that the owners (Scarborough Power) claim will come on stream next year. I understand that it will deal with about 50,000tonnes of waste a year.
It is suggested that the initial overcapacity at Allerton would be met over time due to the natural growth of households and until that time commercial waste would fill the gap. If waste arisings do fall or remain level a more permanent contract to treat commercial waste would fill the gap and actually produce more income for the Company and the Authority.
One must be naive to assume that if NYCC profits from extra commercial waste that there will not be a “downside” if projections are not met. We all know that with PFI projects the main risk bearers are the public sector and not the private partners, if only because they can afford better contract lawyers than local authorities.
Local Authorities in my view should not be engaging in speculative high risk commercial ventures, that should be left to the private sector. If we have not learnt that lesson from the Yorwaste’sdisastrous flirtation with Scarborough Power which has lost this Council over £1M in dividend income then we should look at the experience in Sheffield accepting of course that it is not a PFI scheme.
The Sheffield Experience
Permission was given to a private company to build an incinerator to burn municipal waste to be supplemented by commercial waste if there was a shortfall. After only two years operation and some breakdowns the company was calling for changes to the conditions to allow more municipal waste to be collected. When asked why they could not use commercial waste to make up the shortfall as had been agreed previously, the response was-
“The composition (of) commercial wastes today do not reflect the circumstances which prevailed in 2001”
This was written in 2008 after the plant had been operational for only two years and the dispute rumbles on even today. The Sheffield incinerator hit problems after only 7 years from original design. Our contract binds us for 25 years.
The lesson? “things change”
Private Sector Competition
Add to this the increasing interest by the private sector in the potential of energy from waste. Only last week there was an article in the Yorkshire Post about a company building a plant in West Yorkshire to “Autoclave” municipal and commercial waste.
Companies such as this are likely to be competing in the same market for commercial waste and in all probability will be more competitive in their pricing strategies if only because they can be more selective about the wastes they obtain.
Our facility could well be left with the less attractive or lower calorific waste to deal with and will lack flexibility.
I could expand my comments but the above summarises my reasons for voting against the proposal.
County Councillor Bill Hoult
16 December 2010
30 November 2010
North Yorkshire County Council Executive have today recommended approval of the proposal to build and operate a waste management Plant at Allerton. The proposal which includes a recycling provision, Anearobicdigestion and an incinerator is proposed to be constructed and operated in partnership with Amey Cespa using a Private Finance Iniative scheme over 25 years.
The final decision to proceed or not will be taken by Full Council on the 14 December 2010.
I have been written to by a number of residents regarding my views on the Allerton Waste Management Project. Below is one of the replies that I have sent back that you may wish to read.
Dear Concerned Resident 25 October 2010
Thank you for writing to me, I am sorry my reply is so long. You may be assured that I will continue to be open about my opinions regarding the waste management project at Allerton. I actually think democracy is best served by keeping an open mind and a concentration on the facts about whatever issue is before us and not to be swayed by emotive and often unsubstantiated arguments whether for or against.
That is what I am trying to do. It is a complex subject and I will be honest and say to you now that I have not made my mind up on this issue yet but as you may gather not for the reasons you mention.
Openness and Secret Votes
The issue of openness about how I intend to vote is not something I should be particularly praised for, the vote and debate will be taken in public session and no councillor will be able to “vote in secret”. This was an unfortunate and untrue statement made by some objectors which, reinforces my point about emotive arguments. The councillors to watch are those who absent themselves from the chamber on the day due to “urgent business” elsewhere!
In the interests of openness I have been running a page on my website www.billhoult.mycouncillor.org.uk since February this year and have expressed a few views and posed numerous questions to officers at County Hall. Please look at it.
You will see that I am not against incineration in principle.
Having had some involvement in incineration many years ago (1980s) I am aware of the pollution that those old incinerators emitted, however the technology and legislation has moved on. Many of the objectors figures are based on old historical ones rather than the current ones and indeed the latest leaflet from NYWAG that I received yesterday now recognises this.
It is intended to raise recycling across North Yorkshire (responsibility of the District Councils) to about 60% and at the Allerton Recycling Centre it is proposing to take out about another 20,000 tonnes of recyclates from the waste stream(5%)
There is intended to be an anaerobic digester that produces methane to be burnt that will process 40K of organic material, interestingly this leaves an almost identical amount of residue. Unfortunately it cannot be used as compost because it contains mixed waste including animal waste (skin, bones, flesh etc) so it would be incinerated. The incineration process will produce electricity that will be fed into the National Grid.
Landfill is still cheaper now, but it is not only the continuing rise in landfill tax that is a problem but that there will be a “cap” on the amount of landfill allowed in future mainly due to greenhouse gas emissions from landfill (methane which is 10 times worse than CO2) Contraventions will be fined at about £150 a tonne. A sort of “catch 22” situation for Authorities.
My main concern is that the Council is tying itself in to a 25 year contract under the discredited PFI system and if we get it wrong may be in hock to the private company for millions of pounds that the taxpayers will have to pay for. It is the rules of PFI schemes set by Government that insist on the procurement process the Council has to follow and results in the “take it or leave it” option before us, I would like our MPs to do something about that.
I find it difficult to accept that residents have been kept in the dark.
The NYCC have publicised the proposals in the Ackrill press including the Knaresborough Post and the Post has carried articles (many front page) and letters on the subject. The NYCC have also publicised the issue in the NorthYorkshire Times which should be delivered every month to every household in the County. There has been an exhibition in Knaresborough House and other localities in the area.
There was also a special meeting in Harrogate at the Old Swan of the County Area Committee to hear public comments which received wide publicity and about a 100 protestors and interested members of the public attended. I know that there have been reports on Radio York and Stray FM on the issue and of course there is the Allerton Waste recycling website.
In addition NYWAG themselves have organised meetings and events to discuss the issue at various locations but I think everybody accepts that it is often difficult to reach everyone.
Hope that helps but please contact me if you have any specific queries
County Councillor Bill Hoult
Here is a letter I have written to the Knaresborough Post this week (22 October 2010)
Thanks to Tony Cressey for his letter in response to mine on the incinerator but I must insist that no councillor is being gagged on opinions, indeed I have expressed mine.
The point is, a “I will vote for” or “I will vote against” is a decision not an opinion.
Our MPs need to be called to account. It is the Government that is forcing North Yorkshire to adopted the discredited system of private financing (PFI) for this project.
This puts the Council in hock to private contractors for 25 years and may cost us all dearly if it goes wrong. The rules of this crazy system also require us to decide for or against a solution without any other option.
So stop giving our MPs a free ride on this issue and pressure them to change the rules at Westminster for a more sensible way of financing projects.
As to secrecy, in this case the vote will be taken in public at County Hall so how can that be a secret vote?
Mr Cressey you may have firm views and feel informed but many of the electorate are not and may not have the time or desire to be so. They elect us to use our judgement on their behalf and if we get it wrong too often they vote us out.
County Councillor Bill Hoult
Here is the response to the question I put to the Executive Member about the Sheffield Incinerator on the 13 October 2010 (See below)
Unfortunately it does not seem to address the issue as to why the Sheffield incinerator has got into such a pickle. As I have said the operator and Sheffield City must have satisfied one another that the volumes were acheivable but they were clearly wrong. Also a comment by the operator that “The composition of commercial waste today does not reflect the circumstances which prevailed in 2001” (7 years earlier) is worrying.
Thank you for your question
The incinerator at Bernard Road, Sheffield began processing waste in 2005 and became fully operational in 2006. It has Planning Permission to accept 225,000 tonnes of waste a year. I understand that Sheffield’s needs are currently for just over 130,000 tonnes per year, less than 60% 0f the capacity of the plant.
The City currently recycles about 27% of their household waste and aspire to recycle 45% (what we do now) meaning that their long term projected need is for less than a half of the available capacity of the plant. This combined with planning restrictions to only take commercial waste from a 15mile radius of the plant and no more than 10% of the capacity to come from neighbouring local authorities, have led to the operator claiming that they are finding it difficult to source sufficient waste.
The situation will be significantly different for York and North Yorkshire. Ours is a joint procurement and will deliver a facility designed to meet the needs of two authorities. Although local commercial waste will be used to top up the plant and ensure it remains efficient our joint projected need is ultimately for close to 100% of plant capacity. The greatest amounts of the spare capacity will be at the beginning of the contract-roughly equivalent to only 20%.
Studies carried out by Urban Mines on behalf of the Regional Assembly and more recently by AmeyCespa have identified over 600,000 tonnes of suitable commercial and industrial waste in York and North Yorkshire.
AmeyCespa’s needs are therefore projected to be less than 10% of the available market in York and North Yorkshire. I am therefore confident that the situation in Sheffield is not relevant to the proposal for York and North Yorkshire
I will be putting the following question at the Quarterly Council Meeting at Northallerton on Wednesday 13 October 2010 North Yorkshire Quarterly Meeting 13 October 2010Question to Clare Wood Executive Member Waste DisposalAllerton Incineration PlantI have recently been made aware of a letter (dated 13 May 2008) from the Company that is responsible for the incinerator at Sheffield. It indicates that the originally calculated waste arisings (based on recycling rates of 45%) had not grown as quickly as expected and that this had led to a shortfall in using the plant to full capacity.Interestingly there had been an attempt to “fill the gap” with trade waste from commercial sources such as restaurants etc., however it is clear that the “composition” of the waste was not compatible with municipal waste and was giving difficulties.Other reports claim that the mix of the commercial waste was insufficient in non organic combustibles.Has a study been carried out by this Authority on the Sheffield Incinerator difficulties and how confident are we that the Allerton Plant will not suffer similar difficulties during the 25year term of the contract?County Councillor Bill HoultKnaresborough____________________________________ To the Editor Knaresborough Post 8 October 2010Dear EditorAllerton Incinerator Keep an Open Mind
This is misleading, I know from previous responses that the residue form the aneorobic digester can be treated and used as a compost for instance and also that one of the tests is whether it is economically sensible to recycle items if no market for the end product exists at the moment (an example often given is tetrapacks). Cannot is not the correct word to use here surely?
I understand your point. The intention is to make it clear that the process will extract materials for recycling before putting the remaining material into the EfW plant. There is an obligation under the contract for AmeyCespa to recycle a minimum of 5% by weight of the waste we provide them, and they have indicated that they expect this to be nearer 10% on the basis that their equipment is designed to recover at least 90% of available metals and 80% of recyclable plastics. The plant will therefore all that can be practicably be recovered of these materials.
Some other materials may be theoretically recyclable but are not currently being targetted where there is no viable or economic UK market.
What I would like to know is what is the estimated organic waste and what is not (plastics, polstyrene etc)
Attached is a chart showing the composition of the residual waste to be delivered to Allerton Park.
And then what it is possible to recycle whether the markets exist or not or whether it would make economic sense at this time to recycle or not?
The attached should answer your question but if you need more, please ask.
I have also noted the recent decision by the Government to allow local authorities to sell electricity to the grid (Huhne ends Local Authority power struggle (Press release) Dept of Energy and Climate Change 09/08/10) and would like to know whether this has any effect on our PFI contract?
This has no direct effect as electricity is to be sold by AmeyCespa.
Cllr Bill Hoult
2 October 2010
I attended this meeting that was held at the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate. Its main purpose was to act as a focus for the public to make their views on the proposal to build the incinerator at Allerton Park just off the A1.
We were welcomed by a delegation carrying placards outside the hotel and about 150members of the public attended the meeting. Over 20 members of the general public spoke, all against the plant but their points fell within the following broad categories :-
The meeting rehearsed many arguments and explanations that had been aired before although I heard details that I had not understood before.
Cllr Bill Hoult
Sunday Times Article 29 August 2010 (12 September 2010)
A number of people concerned about the proposed incinerator have emailed me and drawn attention to the article in the Sunday Times newspaper by Charles Clover on the whole issue of waste management in this Country. Much of what he says I agree with particularly the crazy situation that allows the collection authorities to devise completely different methods of collection to achieve their recycling targets.
However it is interesting to see that Mr Clover considers that the emissions from such plant do not constitute a great health hazard, a view I am coming to accept.
Also he partly contradicts his own argument regarding incineration by claiming that the residue from anaerobic digestion plants can be used as “fuel”, what do we do with “fuel”? We incinerate it to produce energy!
My investigations into the economics of the scheme continue and I am pleased that the time for the decision making process has now been extended until the end of the year.
An interesting new development is the decision by the Coalition government to allow local authorities to sell electricity into the National Grid from various sources, which they are currently prohibited from doing. We need to see whether this will have an impact of the contractual terms being offered to the Council by AmeyCespa.
It is also an indication of the inherent risks of legislative change that might occur to the Council’s benefit or detriment over what is a long term financial committment.
Cllr Bill Hoult
12 September 2010
Questions on Financial Aspects of the Proposals (17 August 2010)
Following the responses to the technical issues I raised I put the following to County Council officers (the paragraph numbers relate to the risk register appendix to the business case.
I do understand that the spreadsheet is inevitably brief and that more lies behind however:-
1) There are three headings Partnership; Service Provider; Shared. On the heading “Service Provider” is that intended to denote the consultancy or will it in certain circumstances include the Districts as collection authorities as the “service provider? Can it be clarified please exactly what that heading covers?
Partnership refers to NYCC and CYC as clients, Service Provider is AmeyCespa, and shared means shared between AmeyCespa and the clients.
Under 4) Planning Risks
Delayed planning permissions and/or rejection of permission may well be the fault of the consultants in regard to inadequate or even non existent information that results in delay or rejection. In that case the service provider will be at fault withpossible consequential losses for the partnership. Is that dealt with?
Yes, the contractor is obliged to progress the planning application using all reasonable endeavours. We are working closely with them to ensure that is the case.
4.5 Mention made of “onerous conditions”. Who decides what is onerous and what is reasonable? Clarity required
This will be a matter for the Council to decide if the condition is so onerous that it prejudices the effective delivery of the contract. Ultimately, it will be a case of whether we want to pay for it or not.
7.1 Provision for PFI operator to reject equipment. His responsibility to check it for “Fitness for Purpose” . Who pays for the new equipment and its installation?
This isnt really applicable as it refers to plant transferred to the contractor at the start of the contract. There will not be any in this case.
7.7 Who decides what is the need? What happens if there is a disagreement?
AmeyCespa will decide and identify what changes are required
7.28 Surely this is the responsibility of the service provider in his estimates?
Yes – this is how it has been dealt with in the final tender.
9.1-9.3 How much will the Authority be able to “stand aside” from the design details. i.e. will the client need to become involved in “approving” the design as work progresses?
No, except that we have an interest to ensure the contractor build what we have paid for and that it is fit for purpose. We will require sign off from an independent tester to confirm the plant meets the performance requirements before the contract starts.
Under Design; Regulatory Risks
Surely the service deliverer should be responsible for all “foreseeable risks” of changes to legislation licencing, enforcement. Much legislation that may be introduced in years to come will already be passing through working parties etc in the European Union and be known?
Yes, the principle is that the contractor is expected to have priced for foreseeable changes. The risks identified for the Councils are those which can not be forseen, or those which lead to a change in the requirement of the service – i.e. we want something different.
_______________________________17 August 2010________
Questions on the Process (11 August 2010)
I sent the following questions to officers at County Hall for their response and have received their answers which are in italics below each question.
1. Is the whole disposal facility “modular” i.e. is it possible to provide or discontinue units of extra capacity that would enable the plant to operate at lower or higher volumes without a subsequent loss of efficiency (or/and cost to the County Council?)
The plant can be considered “modular” in that AmeyCespahas allowed a very flexible design that allows for operation with increased or reduced inputs without affecting the capacity of the service.
a) The Mechanical Treatment plant features two parallel operational lines. The maximum capacity the plant can operate without affecting the efficiency of the plant is 35 tonnes per hour per line. This enables the plant to process predicted daily intakes of waste in slightly less than 2 shifts of operation (14 hours per day). If the plant operates at reduced inputs recycling efficiency actually improves as the performance of the “smart” elements improve with reduced throughput.If the plant needs to process more waste, a third shift can be operated at the facility such that the capacity of the mechanical treatment plant can be expanded by 50% without further cost to the Councils, but with the potential for significant benefit in recyclates extraction..Thus the plant is designed to treat efficiently any amount of waste from 0 to 1,500 tonnes per day, its normal operating capacity is approximately 1,000 tonnes per day.
b) The Anaerobic Digestion, treating only the organic fraction of the waste, is an entirely modular system. The Anaerobic Digestor can be upgraded in modules of different tonnages up to 40,000 tpa. AmeyCespa has opted for the 40k model, because our analysis of the waste stream indicates that we are likely to be able to recover this amount of waste suitable for AD processing for the full 25 years of the project.With the addition of ROCs (renewable energy credits) to the electricity income, the AD plant becomes “cost neutral”, meaning that the income generated by its operation during 25 years equates its capital and operational cost. It is included in AmeyCespa’s offer as they believe it adds significant flexibility to their service.Once in operation, AmeyCespa will continue to evaluate the potential to upgrade the plant and incorporate a second digester. This is a Business Case decision depending on cost benefit.
c) The Energy from Waste Plantis modular in its design comprising 2 parallel lines bothwith a capacity of 20 tonnes per hour. Although the plant cannot be upgraded further than this without additional investment and cost to the Council, AmeyCespa believes the capacity it has allowed for in its design will guarantee the diversion targets committed for the 25 years of operation.For reduced amounts of waste, each line can be operated efficiently (without efficiency loss in the turbine) down to 12 tonnes per hour. The plant can actually be operated efficiently in a range of capacities from 12tph(single line) to 40 tph(twin line capacity).
2. Will the County Council be “locked in” to providing a set amount of suitable organic waste or mix of waste during the life of the facility?
No, AmeyCespa has accepted composition risk, and it is AmeyCespa’s responsibility to extract suitable organic waste from the residual waste delivered to the facility by the Councils. If AmeyCespa fails to extract this organic waste from the residual waste, they will bear the losses of poor performance of the AD facility.
1. Is the solid digestate residue further sorted to remove plastics and other foreign matter or dried as a source of fuel for the incinerator?
The organic waste that reaches the Anaerobic Digestor has undergone an extensive treatment process at the Mechanical Treatment plant prior to being digested, thus making sure that all recyclables are removed and the presence of plastics in the organic waste is insignificant.For this reason further mechanical treatment of the digestate would not provide any benefit. The solid digestate can be used directly as fuel for the EfW plant, without drying.
2 I understand that timber will not be digestablewithout oxygen. How will green timber waste be dealt with?The Anaerobic Digestion system is only effective for small particles of waste (smaller than 40 mm). If any timber reaches the facility and is of this size it will be digested without any problem.Realistically, green timber reaching the facility will normally be of larger size. We believe green timber will normally be collected separately by most districts and not be collected as part of the residual waste, however if it does reach the proposed facility as part of residual waste it will normally become part of the residue fraction from the Mechanical Treatment Plant and will get incinerated at the EfW plant.3. Is the liquid digestate residue recycled through the process or disposed of in some way?There is no liquid digestate residue in the Dranco process.4. If recycled is it considered necessary to pasteurise it?There is no liquid digestate residue in the AD process. However the solid digestate residue is pasteurised before it is employed as fuel for the EfW plant.
5) I am not clear what the criteria for calculating the “recyclable” figure is. Is it on based on weight or volume or what?
The formal definition on how to calculate district council recycling figures is published by central government, and has some complexities. Put simply, the figure is calculated from the tonnes of waste collected by the district council for recycling or composting compared to the total amount of household waste collected. The formula used is % = R + C x 100W+R+CWhere R is the tonnes of waste collected for recyclingC is the tonnes of waste collected for compostingW is the tonnes of residual waste collectedNational Indicators for waste include reuse, however our work in this area is still in its early stages and the tonnes involved are currently low. Ignoring reuse performance in the calculations makes less than 0.1% difference to the recycling/composting figures calculated using the formula above.
6)If Districts do increase their % recyclable to say 60% how much would that reduce the amount to be processed through the digester.? Would it also affect the estimated 20,000 tonnes that it is expected will be recycled at Allerton?
Recyclables are not organic so there is no reduction in digester volume. It could affect the amount of recyclates recovered but the absolute guarantee of the contract is that we will recover a minimum of 5% of the waste stream for use as recyclates.
7)The digester leaves a residue that it is claimed has to be incinerated. Is there an alternative? What is the % residue left in relation to the waste processed through the digester?
There is an alternative for the digestate (or digestion residue). However, this has a number of disadvantages. The alternative would be to compost it and turn it into a compost like output (CLO). Because the organics going into the AD plant come from a mixed source this product cannot be use in agriculture. Normally CLO ends up being landfilled as active landfill, therefore AmeyCespa would not be able to guarantee the diversion targets set by the Authority and costs would increase.An additional environmental and economic benefit of putting the digestate through the EfW is production of electricity to the National Grid. Of the 40,000 tonnes of waste that are treated in the anaerobic digestion approximately 10,000 become biogas while the other 30,000 tonnes are part of the process residue that goes into the incinerator (so approximately 25% of the waste processed in the AD is turned into biogas)
8)Mention was made at our seminar that some non recyclable materials will be incinerated, presumably this is an economic as well as a practical decision, can you give examples?
Examples of non-recyclable materials that are mixed in the municipal waste stream and will be incinerated are nappies, textiles, low grade paper (such as sweet or ice cream wrappers) and cling film.AmeyCespa will monitor recycling markets and the waste stream and adjust their extraction programme to take out materials that become economic to extract. One example is tetrapak, the containers for fruit juice; this is a developing market but there are a limited number of reprocessors in UK at present, non within easy reach. When there is a market AmeyCespa will extract them.
9)What is the expected amount of raw municipal refuse that will be incinerated?10)I understand that for efficient incineration the refuse will have to be “graded” to produce an acceptable fuel load. Is there information on this?There is no need to “grade” the refuse.The normal calorific value for waste is 9 to 10 Kilojoules per kilogram; 7 would correspond to organic waste with virtually no textiles or plastics in it; 12 would correspond to a very dry material made up of mainly paper and plasticsSome facilities, the proposed Ferrybridge plant being one, require that the material is preprocessed into refuse derived fuel (RDF) which is uniform and of relatively high calorific value (typically greater than 10 Kilojoules per kilogram) where larger plastics or paper % would be required to maintain this.The process at Allerton Park is robust enough to take unprepared waste with different compositions and is able to burn waste in a broad range of calorific values, from 7 to 12 Kilojoules per kilogram.This gives us an advantage in that we can strip out more recyclable materials without influencing the energy output of the plant. We can manage to process a very broad range of compositions without affecting our ability to maximise recyclates recovery.
Cllr Bill Hoult
11 August 2010
Today at the Quarterly County Council meeting a number of presentations and questions were put by members of the public (all objectors) to the Executive member for Waste Disposal regarding the proposal to erect a municipal waste treatment and recycling plant, including incineration, at Allerton Park. At the end of the presentations the Executive member gave a formal response to their queries.
The Public Gallery was so packed that a number of the members of the public were unable to be accommodated so I requested to the Chair that they be allowed to enter the Chamber and this was agreed.
Motion for Debate
At 12noon a debate was held on a motion to hold a public meeting chaired by an “Independent” person on the proposal. The motion was heavily defeated by a vote that was largely on party lines (Conservative and Independent Group against and Liberal Democrats and True Independents for).
The main argument against the motion was that the consultation process set up by the County Council was a “more effective way” of engaging with the public and deciding the issue whereas the supporters felt that normal process gave insufficient input for ordinary people.
Final Decision on Waste Disposal System
A decision on the proposed single option is expected to be taken by the County Council when it meets in October 2010, although it will still need to be taken through the planning process.
County Councillor Bill Hoult
21 July 2010
Allerton Waste Recovery Park Public Exhibitions
I have received the following notification of public exhibitions regarding the proposed Recycling Recovery Plant at Allerton which is intended to be an integral part of the waste disposal facility should apporoval of the project be obtained.
07 July 2010
We want to involve local people in the AllertonWaste Recovery Park proposals right from the start and we are fully committed to listening to local views. We are undertaking a detailed consultation programme with the local community and as part of this consultation programme, we are holding public exhibitions to update people on the Allerton Waste Recovery Park proposals and give them a chance to speak to our team, ask questions and find out more.
Four initial public exhibitions will be held this month as follows:
* Thursday July 15th, Crown Hotel, Boroughbridge, 11am – 7pm
* Friday July 16th, The Hospitium, York, 11am – 7pm
* Saturday 17th July, The Crown Hotel, Harrogate, 10am – 4pm
* Monday 19th July, Knaresborough House, Knaresborough, 10am – 6pm
This is the first stage of exhibitions and we will hold more across the region later in the year. If you cannot make it to one of the exhibitions, please do not hesitate to contact us with any further questions or queries you may have.We hope that you will contribute your opinions and views on all aspects of the proposals and, if you have any queries in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01609 751676 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Allerton Waste Recovery Park
County Announces Preferred Solution
North Yorkshire County Council has announced the preferred solution of it’s Waste Management Strategy. The company AmeyCespa’s proposal is to build and operate a facility at Allerton quarry to treat up to 320,000 tonnes of waste per year from York and North Yorkshire and recover energy from it for supply to the National Grid.
The technologies are broadly speaking:-
A mechanical treatment Plant to automatically screen out recyclable matter, and;
An Anaerobic Digeston (AD) plant to treat the separated organic waste and generate electricity, and:
An Incinerator Bottom Ash plant to process residual ash into an aggregate suitable for construction.
The proposal has yet to be formally accepted by the County Council and will require full planning permission before being implemented. The County Council has promised that a full consultation programme will be carried out when the detailed proposals are available.
Further details of the proposals may be accessed on the North Yorkshire County Council web site.
Cllr Bill Hoult
29 June 2010
New Meeting Marton cum Grafton Primary School
A meeting has been called by the Marton cum Grafton parish Council on June 25 at 1830hrsto further discuss the possible erection of an incinerator at the Allerton site. Unfortunately I will not be able to attend due to a previous commitment. However reading the press report in the Knaresborough Post it is clear that the main area of debate is now in regard to the “economics” of incineration, a subject that I raised in my reply to Mr Nuttal of DISC previously (see below). However until we have the developers proposals the full implications and arguments are difficult to formulate either for or against any proposed solutions.
I have copied below a copy of a letter that has been sent to all County Councillors by the Director of Business and Environmental Services on the current situation.
21 June 2010
Any proposal for new waste treatment facilities will of course be subject to normal regulatory consents including detailed planning permission and granting of a permit to operate by the Environment Agency. I am confident that our discussions with WIDP will mean we can make our announcement very shortly.
Then we can start the public and stakeholder consultation to give people the opportunity to ask questions and make their views known before we ask Members to approve the award of the long term waste management contract. We anticipate that we will be taking this to Council in October 2010.
If you require any further information about our waste management strategy and the York and North Yorkshire Waste PFI please contact me or Ian Fielding, Assistant Director Waste Management, on 01609 532161.
Conference at Allerton Castle
I attended the conference on Waste management held at Allerton Park on the 18 May 2010. The Chair Sir Graham Hall made an interesting observation that PFI, the preferred funding mechanism for the strategy might not survive under the new Government. What this means I am not sure but time will tell. The three speakers were very interesting although at times the first two were rather technical. There was a consensus amongst them that incineration should be only considered once reduced production of waste and recycling had been exhausted. The last speaker however was almost totally against incineration except for very specialist types of waste
At the North Yorkshire County Council Meeting on the 19 May I asked the Executive member for Waste management for confirmation that when development proposals are brought forward that the decision would come before Full Council for the final decision. Clare Woods (Ex Member) confirmed that this would be the case.
Recently I received an email from the secretary of DISC an organisation that is opposed to the disoposal of municipal waste by incineration. Below is the exchange of correspondence
I am writing to you as Secretary and on behalf of DISC.
The Liberal Democrat PPCs Claire Kelley and Howard Kealrecently had a meeting withDISC as they wanted to know what our objectives are. Since the meeting last week, both have expressed support for what we are trying to achieve. I understand that Claire has already sent you her press release and a link to her ‘blog’ and that Howard has sent you his press release.
They all contain very accurate synopses of our discussion. As Leader of the Liberal Democrat County Councillors, we would be grateful if you could give us some of your time for a meeting so that you can quiz us about our objectives – and judge for yourself the level of knowledge we have attained on waste management.
We are non-political but of course are willing to speak to all Councillors whatever the colour of their flag! We fervently believe that the issue of waste management is a monumental one for Councillors to consider and make a decision on.
If you would like to meet us, perhaps you could suggest a date(s) / time. We could meet at my house in Topcliffe if this would be convenient to you – maybe on your way to/from County Hall?
Dear Mr Nuttal
Many thanks for your email regarding the issues around incineration and the possibility of a plant being located at or near Allerton just off the A1. I am as you are aware currently the leader of the Liberal Democrat Group at County Hall and I can inform you that the group has no formal policy on waste incineration at this time.
I am also able to confirm that I have been copied into information by Claire Kelley and Howard Keal as well as receiving information from DISC direct. You may not be aware however that I am on the North Yorkshire County Council Planning and Regulatory Committee which would ultimately have to make a decision on any application received concerning such a plant. This places constraints on what comments I personally can make in opposition or support for any of the proposals that may come before the committee because of the risk of being guilty of pre determination. In such an event I would be excluded from the committee and decision making when any such application was considered.
Within those constraints I am prepared to say that I am extremely sceptical of the economic and strategic benefits of incineration at such a location. A large investment in such a plant through a PFI scheme would require a long pay back period and generate a clear imperative to “feed the beast”.
There are continuing advances in recycling technology linked with robust measures to reduce the production of waste. This raises questions about the ability of the management of any such facility to operate at maximum efficiency over the life of the plant without the need to import waste from other areas or restrict recycling initiatives.
I am also yet to be convinced that the energy produced by the plant would compete effectively with that saved by recycling of the combustible waste over a longer period of time.
Finally only a day or so ago I received an invite from County Councillor Savage to a seminar on this subject to be held at Allerton Castle on the 18 May 2010 which I hope to attend as no doubt will other members of the Liberal Democrat Group.
Cllr Bill Hoult
Leader Lib Dem Group NYCC
Allerton Quarry-Incinerator for Municipal Waste?
Some time ago Whixley Parish Council facilitated a meeting between various parish councils regarding the possible location of a domestic waste incinerator at Allerton Quarry (a landfill site) which is some four to five miles to the East of Knaresborough and about 150 local residents attended. There have been other meetings since then and this has generated some speculation in the media regarding possible risks of the process.
I understand that some of the parish councils have retained an organisation called DISC to represent them in any negotiations regarding possible development.
What is the current situation?
Unfortunately I was unable to attend the meetings. However the North Yorkshire County Council/City of York (NYCC/CYC) have appointed two consortia to submit proposals as to how they would manage municipal waste in the NYCC/CYC to reduce the use of landfill. Until they submit formal reports there are no firm proposals to either use the Allertonsite or indeed to use incineration as a method of dealing with municipal waste.
Is Allerton likely to be considered?
Yes, if only because it was identified with six other sites for “large scale waste management facilities” in the NYCC/CYC by the previous waste core strategy (which the Government Inspector threw out). However the consortia may well bring forward other sites as well as differing methods of disposal.
When will we know the recommendations of the Consortia?
They are expected to report early next year (2010)
Is further consultation envisaged?
Yes both councils are committed to full consultation on any proposals put forward and they will have to go through the normal planning procedures.
Who is DISC?
DISC stands for Dalton Incinerator Steering Committee and as the name implies was set up to fight any proposal to establish an incinerator at the Dalton site south of Thirsk. DISC is opposed in principle to any incineration of domestic waste and maintains that other approaches such as reducing waste and recycling should be prioritised.
Where do I stand on Incineration?
I am not against it in principle; the technology has moved on and will continue to do so. Much of the statistical information regarding pollutants such as dioxins is historical having been gathered from older plants. However that does not mean that I am not committed to ensuring that any proposal is safe and I will need convincing of that fact.
Have you other concerns?
Yes, with the collapse of the waste core strategy after three years work the NYCC/CYC have decided to press on with the waste management plan regardless.
This is a worrying approach as there is now no overall framework and this will inevitably mean that the new core strategy will be constructed around the consortia recommendations rather than guiding by them. Clearly the councils are in a fix, if they delay and still need to use landfill they will face stringent penalties that will of course fall on the council tax payers.
With this in mind consultation must be thorough and meaningful, something I intend personally to fight for. Until we see some firm proposals it seems pointless at this stage to speculate on what might or might not happen.
What is the Proposal in Tockwith?
There is a proposal by a private developer to erect a plant to deal with waste at the MarstonBusiness Park, however this is a venture that deals withcommercial waste (from private companies). It therefore is not part of the NYCC/CYC waste management strategy which is concerned with municipal waste. The proposal is to use a process known as “gasification” technology which it is claimed is unlike incineration.