Harpenden-Luton Incinerator: Proposed New Mill End site runs over oil pipeline

New Mill End. Picture: Google.

New Mill End. Picture: Google. - Credit: Archant

The developers behind a proposed incinerator, which would burn 500,000 tonnes of waste a year, want to build it on top of a 150km oil pipeline.

Energy company Emsrayne has applied to build the Lea Bank Energy Park, also known as the Harpenden-Luton incinerator, at New Mill End, north of Harpenden.

According to a letter from the British Pipeline Agency (BPA) to the planning authority, Central Beds council, the proposed site is near to the Total Fina oil pipeline which runs from Lancashire to the Buncefield refinery at Hemel Hempstead.

The letter reads: “The proposed layout appears to show the proposed building being built in the same location as the pipeline.

“The pipeline operates at very high pressure and poses a number of health and safety risks if interacted with.

“Given the proposals at this stage appear to have had no regard to the Total Fina pipeline, it is considered any future planning application consider the extant infrastructure across this piece of land as a priority and resolution is sought ahead of any submission of a planning application.

“The developer is encouraged to liaise with the pipeline operator so the project can be fully understood.”

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The Fina line was constructed between 1989 and 1990 and is a steel pipeline buried 1.2m below the surface.

According to the BPA, the landowner and the pipeline company have entered into a 999 year deed of grant, which grants the rights for the existence of the pipeline and restricts any construction work within ten feet of the pipeline without the owner’s permission.

The pipeline can be diverted, but this is subject to a number of tests, including a demonstration that the developer has endeavoured to make their development suit the pipeline.

The Herts Advertiser sent Emsrayne a series of questions, asking if Emsrayne was aware of the Fina pipeline, whether the incinerator would create a health and safety risk if it is built over the pipeline, and if they will be adjusting their plans in light of the BPA letter.

An Emsrayne spokesperson responded: “Emsrayne are well aware of the pipeline crossing the proposed Lea Bank Energy Park site.

“Plans are being drawn up based on the numerous technical assessments and modelling carried out by our consultants.”