Hertfordshire county council said it is “very disappointed” at the Government’s decision to call in Veolia’s application for an energy recovery facility in Hoddesdon.
And, the authority said that the continuing delay for the 350,000 tonnes per annum capacity facility “adds pressure” to Herfordshire’s bill for disposing of waste.
The application has been called in by Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government, following the council’s approval of the plans before Christmas (see letsrecycle.com story).
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, said: “Following careful consideration of this planning application for the proposed energy recovery facility in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, the Secretary of State has decided it should be called in.
“A public enquiry will now take place in order that all the relevant aspects of the proposed development can be examined in more detail.”
Veolia has been pushing forward plans to develop an EfW plant in Hertfordshire for a number of years.
Plans for a plant were originally put forward by the resources and waste firm for a site at New Barnfield, to fulfil an £800 million waste contract with the county council. However, planning permission was overturned in summer 2015, following a drawn-out political battle over the development of the facility.
The Barnfield plant itself was granted planning permission by Hertfordshire in 2012. DCLG then overturned the council’s decision in July 2014 after the application was called in by then Secretary of State Eric Pickles.
In 2016, the company signed a revised 30-year contract with the county council worth £1 billion to treat the 350,000 tonnes of household residual waste generated in the county each year (see letsrecycle.com story).
Following the announcement, Veolia has warned that the decision sends out a “negative message” to private companies looking to invest “millions of pounds” in “much needed” UK infrastructure.
A Veolia spokesperson said: “We are shocked at the unexpected decision to call in the application for an Energy Recovery Facility at Rye House.
“We cannot think of any basis for this on planning grounds as the application has already been approved locally by the appropriate authorities.
“The facility sits on an industrial site outside the Green Belt, will divert local waste from landfill and protect the environment. At the same time it will contribute significantly to the local economy by creating jobs and deliver green energy that will power tens of thousands of homes.”
In a statement, Terry Hone, Cabinet Member for Waste Management, said: “We’re very disappointed that Veolia’s application is being called in for a public inquiry.
“We hope the Secretary of State will move swiftly in his deliberations which will ensure a further level of scrutiny to this very important project.”Terry Hone
Hertfordshire county council
“We’re confident that the application and proposals are thorough and comprehensive, and they’ve already been scrutinised by the council’s own independent planning process which concluded planning permission should be granted subject to the Secretary of State considerations.
Mr Hone said despite the setbacks, the project will still provide “a very good value for money solution” compared with other options.
“We hope the Secretary of State will move swiftly in his deliberations which will ensure a further level of scrutiny to this very important project,” he added,
According to the authority, the Secretary of State will appoint a planning inspector to hold a public inquiry into Veolia’s proposals. The inspector will then write a report for the Secretary of State, including a recommendation on whether or not planning permission should be granted. The Secretary of State will then either grant or refuse planning permission.