No appeal over incinerator planned for Green Belt land near St Albans - but secret new plan is a possibility

A view of the incinerator from woodland

A view of the incinerator from woodland - Credit: Archant

Anti-incinerator campaigners have welcomed news that Veolia has now binned plans to build a mammoth waste burner in Green Belt land near St Albans.

But there are concerns about behind-closed-doors talks between Herts county council (HCC) and the waste management giant about a revised plan to dispose of rubbish.

Veolia has confirmed that, following a board discussion, it has decided against initiating a legal challenge to Communities Secretary Greg Clark’s refusal of an incinerator at New Barnfield, just over one mile from Colney Heath.

In a statement, Hatfield Against Incineration said: “It’s been a very long campaign, since 2009, and we have shown that our united local community can win against the council and Veolia, who together tried to impose this monstrous, polluting and expensive incinerator on us.

“Now we urge the council to end its contract with Veolia.”

However, the group is concerned that Veolia has recently presented the council with a “secret revised project plan, which is very likely to be an incinerator in another part of Herts.

“We urge HCC to realise it doesn’t need an expensive and polluting incinerator in this county, as there is a massive provision of incinerator capacity in neighbouring counties which can be used until ‘reduce, re-use and recycle’ has been improved, so that incineration is not needed.”

With the council “wasting £12-13 million of our money on the New Barnfield project” campaigners have urged the authority to “start listening to what residents tell them”.

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Cllr Richard Thake, the council’s executive member for waste management, said that Veolia had discussed its ‘plan B’ option with the authority.

He said that a recent analysis showed that as nearly 50 per cent of waste could be recycled at the kerb, the county still needed to provide disposal facilities in future for significant quantities of residual waste.

Cllr Thake added that “in terms of the revised project, due to the ongoing commercial and confidential nature of discussions concerning this draft proposal over the coming months, we concur with Veolia that any disclosure of details would, at this point in time, be counterproductive and premature.

“We will, however, keep that decision under review.”