‘We need a plan B’ – Council presses contractor on waste solutions

Waste services at Hemel Hempstead's Cupid Green depot
Waste services at Hemel Hempstead's Cupid Green depot

Herts County Council has agreed to ask its waste management contractor Veolia to come up with a plan B for dealing with the county’s leftover waste, after plans for a recycling and energy recovery facility were turned down.

The decision made at a cabinet meeeting yesterday follows the Secretary of State’s ruling not to grant planning permission for Veolia’s proposed project at New Barnfield.

The decision on whether or not to approve the proposed facility – which was due to be built at the site in Hatfield – had been the subject of a public enquiry, with the inspector’s results put before the government last February.

It was announced in July that the proposal had been turned down.

Cabinet member for waste management Terry Douris said: “Veolia will be asked to prepare an alternative option for the long-term treatment of Hertfordshire’s residual waste.

“They will have six months to complete this work. We’ll then carefully consider their proposal before deciding whether to continue with Veolia or request termination of the contract.

“Under the existing contract, Veolia’s preparation of an alternative option comes at no extra cost to Hertfordshire County Council.

“As we have free access to Veolia’s expertise, it would be short-sighted not to ask them for an alternative to New Barnfield.”

Mr Douris revealed the authority has plans in place to deal with residual waste up to 2021, so he believes there is ‘sufficient time’ to come up with a long-term solution that is environmentally and financially sound.

Veolia is also in the process of challenging the Secretary of State Eric Pickles’ planning decision.

If Veolia’s challenge is successful while they are working on an alternative plan, the county council can then decide whether to ask Veolia to continue with work on alternative proposals or return to the original plan to build a facility at New Barnfield.

Cllr Douris added: “While legal action is underway, we need to consider the implications of both a successful or unsuccessful challenge and have options available for either scenario.

“Veolia’s legal challenge is entirely at their own cost and independent from the county council who are not challenging the decision.”

For more information, visit www.hertsdirect.org/waste .