Veolia's proposals to build a recycling and energy recovery facility at New Barnfield, Hatfield have been turned down by the Secretary of State.
Hertfordshire County Council and Veolia have been informed today (8 July 2014) that Veolia's proposals to build a recycling and energy recovery facility at New Barnfield, Hatfield have been turned down by the Secretary of State.
This is very disappointing news. We urgently need an efficient and cost-effective way of dealing with Hertfordshire's residual waste that will help us divert the maximum possible amount of waste away from landfill. Building this recycling and energy recovery facility would save Hertfordshire residents an estimated £667m over 25 years. Doing nothing simply isn't an option.
We are fully aware that there have been concerns in the local area about these plans and we remain sensitive to these. We will now, with Veolia, consider our next steps.
However effective we are in reducing, reusing and recycling waste, there will always be some material left to dispose of. Rather than simply disposing of this waste, we have been looking into ways of recovering valuable energy and materials from it, in addition to reducing our reliance on landfill.
What will happen to Hertfordshire's waste now that planning permission has been refused?
We have interim contracts in place to take the waste in the short term. However we still need to find a long term solution for the 540,000 tonnes of waste Hertfordshire's residents produce every year.
We know we can't keep sending waste to landfill, and we can't recycle everything, so we need to find some kind of sustainable and affordable alternative. We'll need to talk to Veolia over the next few weeks about what our options are.
How much has this decision cost the county council?
The real cost of this decision is the loss to the taxpayer. If the project was taken forward it would save Hertfordshire taxpayers £667 million over the next 25 years.
Will you take this to the next stage of Judicial Review to get this agreed?
It's Veolia's decision whether or not to challenge the Secretary of State's decision, not ours. They might choose to appeal, or they might prefer to present us with alternative plans. We assume that they'll need to study the details of the decision before deciding on their next steps.
Do you think this result is due to criticism from the public?
We need to study the decision in more detail, but it appears that the Secretary of State largely agreed with our arguments around the local issues and only turned down the proposals on the basis of national green belt policy.
Will the county council now have to pay severance to Veolia?
It depends on what the county council decides to do next. If we choose to end our contract with Veolia, we will have to make a payment to them. However there are options within the current contract, including asking Veolia to find us an alternative plan for dealing with Hertfordshire's waste.