Victory for St Albans’ anti-incinerator campaigners as New Barnfield waste burner is rejected

Colney Heath protesters Susan Salter, Rob Edwards and Mark Lampert outside the Fielder Centre

Colney Heath protesters Susan Salter, Rob Edwards and Mark Lampert outside the Fielder Centre - Credit: Archant

There is applause in St Albans today (Tuesday) after revelations that a massive incinerator proposed for a neighbouring Green Belt site has been officially turned down.

A just-released report states that Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has agreed to a planning inspector’s recommendation for the controversial incinerator to be refused.

It comes in the wake of Herts county council’s (HCC) decision to give Veolia the go-ahead to build a 380,000 tonne facility on Colney Heath’s doorstep, in New Barnfield.

Local residents have long fought against the waste burner.

Their efforts were buoyed by actor Jeremy Irons, who pledged his support for campaigning villagers.

The fight was also bolstered with funding from St Albans district council, which agreed to contribute up to £5,000 to help argue against the incinerator at a recent six-week-long public inquiry.

Although the incinerator would have been built within Welwyn Hatfield borough council’s administrative area there were fears there would be a visual impact locally, as it was close to St Albans’ boundary.

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HCC had approved the scheme despite thousands of objections against Veolia’s scheme, including from the district council.

County Cllr for St Albans south Sandy Walkington applauded the news, saying: “This bombshell announcement is a tremendous validation of all the hard work by residents and protesters.

“This was a wholly misconceived scheme and the county council has been well and truly caught out.

“The council’s waste strategy is in tatters, but it’s the council taxpayer who will be picking up the bill.”

A spokeswoman for the county council said the authority would respond at a later stage.