UPDATE ON ANTI-INCINERATOR CAMPAIGN May 3 2015
The campaign against an incinerator at New Barnfield is unfortunately not yet over, but campaigners are optimistic that it will be over by the end of 2015. At the moment Veolia’s Planning Application is in the process of being re-determined by the Dept of Communities and Local Government (and the Secretary of State).
This has happened because in 2014 Veolia made a legal challenge in the High Court to the decision against Veolia’s Planning Application, a decision which was made by the DCLG and Sec of State in July 2014. Unfortunately, in Jan 2015, Veolia’s legal challenge succeeded, on a legal point about what the Sec of State had taken into account, so the Planning Application went back to the DCLG to be re-determined.
The parties who were represented at the Public Inquiry back in Autumn 2013 were invited in March 2015 to send to the DCLG responses about relevant things that have happened since the decision against the incinerator in July 2014. These parties are: New Barnfield Action Fund, Gascoyne Cecil Estates (Hatfield House), Historic England (previously called English Heritage), Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, and Welwyn Hatfield Friends of the Earth/Herts Without Waste against the incinerator; and Veolia and Herts County Council in favour of the incinerator. Responses were sent on April 24th 2015. NBAF’s response was checked and amended by our legal team, for which there are some costs, and any donations towards this would be greatly appreciated.
On April 27th 2015 the Public Inquiry Parties were shown all the responses, for and against, and were invited to send in any new points of rebuttal of the other side’s arguments by May 8th. Some members of NBAF are currently working on our response to this. We know that we now have a case against the incinerator even stronger than at the time of the Public Inquiry.
Herts County Council continues to argue for the incinerator, claiming that it is still needed. We say that it is not needed, especially as HCC now has “interim” contracts to send waste to incinerators in nearby counties, and as Defra withdrew the PFI funding for the incinerator on the grounds that it is not needed to fulfil targets of diversion of waste from landfill.
Meanwhile, HCC has said publicly that they have 3 options: to continue with the incinerator if it gets planning permission, to accept an alternative waste plan from Veolia (to be submitted this July), or to break the contract with Veolia. HCC have said that they intend to decide by the end of 2015.
So, whatever the outcome of the Sec of State’s re-determination of Veolia’s Planning Application, Herts County Council can decide not to continue with the incinerator plan.
The political party with a majority on HCC is the Conservatives. The Conservatives at County Hall put forward the incinerator plan, and have continued to push the plan despite many attempts by the County Councillors of Lib/Dem and Labour to persuade them to stop, and despite the sustained opposition of individuals and community groups. It is essential that the Conservative administration at County Hall withdraws the incinerator plan.
Everyone who is opposed to the incinerator should be asking local Conservative councillors and those Conservatives standing for election, what conversations they are having with their fellow Conservatives at County Hall about the need to stop the incinerator plan.