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Premature end for Hertfordshire Council Waste Contract

Veolia ES Hertfordshire’s proposed Energy from Waste (EfW) facility to be built within Hoddesdon was refused planning permission last month by the then secretary of State James Brokenshire.

Due to this decision, Hertfordshire County Council, in agreement with Veolia, have decided to end the 30-year contract prematurely and it follows the separate refusal of planning permission back in 2014 for the Veolia Hatfield EfW site, which was initially put forward for dealing with Hertfordshire’s waste.

The plant would have allowed Veolia to deal with approximately 250,000 tonnes per annum of residual waste currently generated in the county, which is expected to expand over the coming years, necessitating the need for the £320,000 tonne EfW facility. The Local Government Association defines residual waste as any collected household waste that is not considered fit for reuse, recycling or composting.

The reasons given for refusal were;

  • road safety issues on Ratty’s Lane
  • significant adverse landscape impact in relation to the nearest part of the Lee Valley Regional Park

The decision to end the contract still went ahead despite the planning inspector recommending approval for the plant and the Secretary of State agreeing that there is a need for the facility within the area. It had already been granted an environmental permit in 2019 to process the non-hazardous waste, which indicates that the project was in its final stages of development.

Terry Hone (Cabinet Member for Waste Management) stated that, “With the proposed sites in Hatfield and Hoddesdon both having been turned down by the Secretary of State this long-term contract with Veolia is unable to continue. This leaves us with a substantial problem as we’re running out of options for dealing with the residual waste Hertfordshire currently produces, and with 100,000 new homes expected in the county in the next 15 years we urgently need more waste treatment capacity. In the short term we will have to continue transporting hundreds of thousands of tonnes of waste to other parts of the country for treatment which is expensive and bad for the environment.”

The council currently has bridging contracts in place which can deal with this issue, but these are only expected to run until 2024 at maximum, meaning the council needs to find a long-term solution to this problem.

A separate planning application has been submitted for a 500,000 tonne EfW at Darwen, near Blackburn, to be operated by Suez. This is due to be heard by planning committee on August 15th. With the refusal of the Veolia plant we await with eager anticipation of the decision for the Blackburn EfW site.

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