Hatfield incinerator decision leads to tears

SOME residents were moved to tears following yesterday’s decision to give an unpopular county incinerator scheme the go-ahead to be built near homes and a school on the Green Belt.

Herts county council (HCC) has snubbed 6,300 objections, with its development control committee approving the controversial incinerator to be located just over one mile from Colney Heath, in New Barnfield, Hatfield.

A vocal crowd of objectors protested at a packed, tense meeting at County Hall in Hertford yesterday, October 24.

The vote for the incinerator followed party lines, with three Lib Dem councillors and a Labour member voting against the application, while the 11-strong Conservative contingent backed it.

After the decision Cathy Roe, a spokeswoman for Hatfield Against Incineration (HAI), said campaigners, including those attending from Colney Heath, were not surprised at the go-ahead as “the county council was judging its own plan”.

She added: “This is just one step in a long process, and the next step is to request a call-in.”

The group hopes that the Secretary of State will call for a full public inquiry on the back of vehement local opposition to the incinerator.

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Cathy added that Tory councillors appeared to, “brush away key problems such as the impact on Hatfield House and Southfield School, the traffic and visual impact on residents”.

She said: “Some people were crying at the end of the meeting.”

HCC’s cabinet member responsible for waste management, Cllr Derrick Ashley, said the proposed facility would save taxpayers money as landfill tax will increase to �80 per tonne in 2014.

He described it as the, “best solution for dealing with our household waste for all Hertfordshire taxpayers”.

Veolia has welcomed the decision to approve its application for the incinerator.

Regional director Keith McGurk said it will generator 26.6 megawatts of electricity from 380,000 tonnes of waste, to supply the national grid.

An application for an environmental permit to operate the facility has been submitted to the Environment Agency.

Veolia anticipates that the incinerator will be in operation within four years.

There will be more details, and local reaction, in next Thursday’s Herts Ad.