St Albans residents applaud incinerator call-in

Protesters gather before the incinerator decision meeting at New Barnfield Incinerator site

Protesters gather before the incinerator decision meeting at New Barnfield Incinerator site - Credit: Archant

ANTI-incinerator campaigners in St Albans are hailing a decision by the Secretary of State to call-in the recently approved county waste burner.

The announcement by Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles comes in the wake of Herts county council’s (HCC) decision to give the go-ahead to the building of the 380,000 tonne facility on Colney Heath’s doorstep.

This was despite thousands of objections submitted to the controversial Veolia scheme, including by St Albans district council, against the incinerator being built on Green Belt land, next to a school for children with special needs at New Barnfield, Hatfield.

HCC Councillor for the Colneys Chris Brazier today (Tuesday) welcomed the news, but cautioned against assuming Mr Pickles would turn the scheme down, particularly in the wake of his recent decision to approve the Radlett Rail Freight terminal subject to planning obligations being met.

Campaigners from Hatfield Against Incineration, who have fought against the scheme, said they were “absolutely jubilant at the call-in decision”.

A spokesman for the group said it meant that the authority to grant planning permission no longer rested with HCC, but was now in the hands of Mr Pickles.

A public inquiry will be held, led by a planning inspector.

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The spokesman added that there were key issues which the Secretary of State wanted the inspector to inform him about. These include the planning application’s consistency with the development plan for the area; its conformity with policies in the Planning Policy Statement on Sustainable Waste Management and the National Planning Policy Framework, and the impact of the proposed development on the significance of a designated heritage asset - Hatfield House.

There will be further reaction to the call-in in this week’s Herts Ad.