Incinerator plan for Green Belt land near St Albans rejected by Secretary of State

An artist's impression of the New Barnfield incinerator from the air. The incinerator plans have bee

An artist's impression of the New Barnfield incinerator from the air. The incinerator plans have been rejected. - Credit: Archant

The long-running battle against a controversial county incinerator planned for a Green Belt site near St Albans has ended today (Friday) with victory for local campaigners.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark has announced his decision to refuse Veolia’s application to construct and operate a waste burner at New Barnfield, just over one mile from Colney Heath, in a 284-page report.

This follows a court ruling in January which had overturned the Government’s refusal of the project.

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

Then Communities Secretary Eric Pickles was told to review his decision to throw out the scheme after the High Court of Justice backed an appeal by the energy firm, which wants to build a 380,000-tonne-a-year incinerator.

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

In a statement released by the borough council today, its leader, Cllr John Dean, said: “We are very pleased that the Secretary of State has agreed that this site is not suitable for the incinerator.

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“The unsuitability of the proposed location in Hatfield has been argued relentlessly by members, officers and local residents and I would like to thank everyone who got involved and worked tirelessly to show the strength of feeling that existed within the community.”

In St Albans district, concerned local residents and councillors also joined the fight against the incinerator.

Susan Salter, spokeswoman for Colney Heath residents fighting the scheme, even managed to enlist actor Jeremy Irons to pledge his support for the cause.