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HCC PRESS STATEMENT RE INCINERATOR AND REPORT OF HCC MEETING

Latest NewsPosted by Cathy Thu, July 23, 2015 17:54:20

HCC PRESS STATEMENT AND

MEETING OF COUNCIL OF HCC JULY 21 2015

This is the message sent by HCC to the local press following the Sec of State’s decision against Veolia’s Planning Application for an incinerator at New Barnfield on July 17th.

Richard Thake, Executive Member for Community Safety & Waste Management said:

“We are very disappointed with the decision. However we had planned for this eventuality and on 7 July received a plan B from Veolia known as the draft Revised Project Plan (RPP).

“All the information in this plan will be carefully considered before we make a decision on the next steps.

“It is essential that we find a cost effective and appropriate solution to disposing of Hertfordshire’s residual waste. This is a very large area of expenditure for the county council, with in the region of £27m spent annually on dealing with over 265,000 tonnes of collected residual waste.

“Despite the excellent collection facilities offered by the districts and boroughs and the services provided by the extensive network of the household waste recycling centres, recent analysis that we’ve carried out shows that on average nearly 50% of the waste that is thrown away by us could be recycled at the kerbside. This is despite campaigns to encourage greater recycling, an expanded range of recycling services provided, as well as greater awareness of the need to think before you throw something away.

“It is therefore critical that we all work together to find a way of reducing these costs by reducing, re-using, recycling and recovering as much waste as possible. Even if we make significant improvements in how we manage our waste, there will still be a need to provide disposal facilities for significant quantities of residual waste and the thorough evaluation of the draft RPP, alongside consideration of alternative options, forms part of that process.

“The county council’s aim is to be in a position, by October this year, to update Members and decide on next steps in what might be a lengthy process.”

Note:

In terms of the draft RPP, due to the ongoing commercial and confidential nature of the 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.

In terms of any future appeal about this decision, this would be a matter for the applicant, Veolia.

MEETING OF HERTS COUNTY COUNCIL FULL COUNCIL July 21st 2015

This was the first meeting of HCC following the Sec of State’s refusal of planning permission for an incinerator at New Barnfield on July 17th.

Council leader Robert Gordon made a very brief (and quiet) announcement of the Sec of State’s decision. He said that HCC wait to see if Veolia will challenge the SoS decision, and that HCC will not reveal the details of the Revised Project Plan which Veolia submitted on July 7th, because of commercial sensitivity.

Maureen Cook, county councillor for Hatfield North, in asking a question, referred to “the brilliant decision by the Sec of State to refuse planning permission for New Barnfield”. She asked if we can be reassured that the same sort of thing as the incinerator plan won’t happen again and that notice will be taken of the views of residents and the importance of the environment. Her question was taken by councillor Tony Hunter (as Richard Thake, who is now Exec Member for Community Safety and Waste Management, was in Spain). He said that Veolia have 6 weeks to appeal. He said there will be a report on Veolia’s “Plan B” to the HCC Cabinet panel in October, and that HCC’s interim contracts to use incinerators in nearby counties continue to 2018, with possible extension to 2021, so HCC do not have to make a quick decision. When Maureen Cook asked how much the rejected incinerator plan had cost, Tony Hunter said he was unable to give the figures.

Paul Zukowskyj, county councillor for Hatfield South, asked Tony Hunter if Robert Gordon’s very brief comment was the verbal update mentioned in the printed report to Council, but Paul was not given any more detail.

In a question about the report on Resources and Performance, Paul Z queried the report’s claim that HCC gains “excellent value for money”, as the incinerator project has cost HCC at least £12 million. Chris Hayward, Deputy Leader of Council, said that the money spent on the incinerator plan was not all wasted, as HCC “have a contract and a process”. Paul Z referred to the huge expenditure on legal fees, which could have been spent on social need (such as the Home Start project which HCC had decided that morning to cut). Chris Hayward said that the administration "has a clear strategy" and "the legal fees were spent out of necessity for that policy and strategy".

HAI are optimistic that, whatever is suggested in Veolia's Revised Project Plan, HCC will decide that building any new incineration capacity in Hertfordshire is not the way forward in waste management, and will recognise that there is now over-capacity of incineration facilities nationally. We will be urging HCC to fully implement "reduce, re-use, recycle" and to have the aim of zero waste - zero to landfill and zero to incineration.





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