Incinerator plant threat to land near St Albans

AN INCINERATOR plant for non-recyclable waste could be on the cards for land between Radlett and St Albans.

Part of the Lafarge Aggregates site off Harper Lane is the proposed location of one of the two shortlisted companies chosen by the county council to submit a more detailed bid for the facility.

Details of exactly where the scheme put forward by E.ON Energy from Waste AG could be built are yet to be made public, but it is expected that the site for any plant would be of between five and eight hectares in size.

The other bidder is Veolia Environmental Services which has proposed a facility at New Barnfield in South Hatfield, a site owned by Herts County Council (HCC) and known to have been in the pipeline for some time.

An opposition group have been campaigning against any proposal for Barnfield for the past couple of years, citing concerns about harmful emissions, traffic pollution and noise. But HCC has maintained that the facility will offer a cleaner alternative to landfill and will be heavily regulated.

The two companies – whittled down from an original 13 bidders – are free to propose whichever technology they want but both schemes would be Energy from Waste (EfW) facilities which generate electricity with the potential to power up to 20,000 homes at any one time.

The resulting ash is also processed into aggregate for building work so the need for any subsequent landfill is said to be practically zero.

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The process of procuring a residual waste management service is part of HCC’s plans to cut down on its landfill – which currently stands at 260,000 tonnes per year – and complement its ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Recover’ policy.

Derrick Ashley, executive member for waste, stressed that there was next to no landfill space available in Herts and heavy penalties running into millions of pounds for disposing of waste in that way.

He said: “While our priority is to help people to reduce, reuse and recycle more of the waste we generate, the reality is that a substantial amount of waste will still need to be disposed of every year.

“We want the best possible solution for Hertfordshire and I’m please that what residents have said is important to them – namely diverting the maximum amount of waste from landfill, recycling as much as is possible, and making the most of the waste left by recovering energy from it in the form of electricity – is what we are getting.”

He continued: “The decision about where to place a waste treatment facility will always be a difficult one – and not a popular one. But it is a decision that has to be taken. I appreciate that there will be a concern and residents will be able to convey these during the consultation on a planning application which the contractor will submit once appointed.”

The final tender will be submitted in December with the preferred bidder being appointed in June next year, followed by the application and consultation stage. HCC hopes to have the facility up and running by April 2015.