Is biomass boiler linked to former St Albans recycling site?

Aerial shot of the fire at the recycling depot

Aerial shot of the fire at the recycling depot - Credit: Archant

Fears that a company planning to build a biomass boiler at the Appspond Lane site which caught alight last year have links to its previous owners has led St Albans’ MP to oppose the application.

Anne Main has written to the Environment Agency (EA) slamming Navitas Environmental Limited’s (NEL) plans to set up a wood burning boiler at the former Wood Recycling Services Limited plant in Potters Crouch.

In November last year 10,000 tonnes of wood went up in flames and burned for several months at the wood recycling site, causing problems across the district and affecting water and electricity supplies.

Residents have voiced their concerns about the application because they fear another fire and that the applicants might have a connection to the former owners, the Lupson brothers, who breached their environmental permit and allowed too much wood to be stored on site.

A spokesperson for Mrs Main said that following an investigation into NEL it appeared there were “clear links” between the company and the Lupson family, who ran the site at the time of the fire and have faced prosecution between 1997 and 2008 for three counts of waste mismanagement.

He added that the EA have been informed about the link but the department said they had to treat NEL as a separate legal entity and appeared to be ‘considering approving the application’.

It is the second time NEL has applied to build a biomass-fuelled renewable energy plant after an initial application in 2010.

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Mrs Main said: “This is exactly the sort of scenario I wanted to stop. It seems that all the Lupsons need to do to continue blighting the lives of my constituents at Appspond is get an associate to start up a new company identity and apply for the permit.

“I was given reassurances that environmental regulation would be tightened to stop cowboy operators.

“As it appears this is not the case, I have sent a copy of my submissions to the EA to both the Attorney General and the Secretary of State for DEFRA. Considering all that my constituents have been put through with mismanagement of this site, I find it startling that the EA seems to be minded to grant this permit and I will continue to do what I can to fight it.”

The consultation for the biomass boiler is open until January 10. For more information visit