BREAKING NEWS: Court overrules Government over refusal of incinerator near St Albans

Controversial incinerator

Controversial incinerator - Credit: Archant

A court ruling has overturned the Government’s refusal of a controversial county incinerator project near St Albans.

Today (Thursday) a ruling by the High Court of Justice backed an appeal by energy firm Veolia, which wants to build a 380,000-tonne-a-year waste burner at New Barnfield, just over one mile from Colney Heath.

It means Communities Secretary Eric Pickles now has to review his decision to throw out the project, which had been backed by Herts county council.

The ruling states: “The decision of the Secretary of State dated 7 July 2014 refusing Veolia’s application for planning permission must be quashed by the court.”

The application to quash the Secretary of State’s decision was brought by Veolia ES (UK) Limited under section 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act.

Mr Justice Holgate had reserved his judgement until the New Year following the December 16-17 hearing.

Barrister Zoe Leventhal, for the Secretary of State, defended his decision along with barrister Wayne Beglan, who represented Welwyn Hatfield borough council.

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Veolia’s legal challenge was presented by Rhodri Price Lewis QC.

The energy firm argued that Mr Pickles had not taken into account as part of very special circumstances for building an incinerator that New Barnfield had been endorsed as an allocated waste site by a planning inspector.

However barristers opposing Veolia’s challenge told the court that the Communities Secretary had given significant attention to the proposed allocation of New Barnfield in the waste plan and he had referred to it in his decision letter.

As Veolia’s court action has been successful, the firm’s planning application will now be referred back to Mr Pickles to reconsider.