8 August 2019 by Joshua Doherty

Veolia and Hertfordshire end £1bn waste contract

Hertfordshire county council and Veolia have agreed to cancel their waste management contract worth £1 billion after the application to build a 320,000 tonnes per year energy from waste (EfW) plant was turned down.

The council has vowed to “go back to the market” to find an outlet for the 250,000 tonnes of waste the county produces.

An artist’s impression of the Hoddesdon facility

Last month, the then Housing and Communities Secretary, James Brokenshire, turned down the application for the EfW facility at Hoddesdon on the basis that it would have ‘significant adverse landscape and visual impacts’ (see letsrecycle.com story).

Both the council and Veolia have now decided not to challenge the decision, and after discussions have “agreed to terminate” the deal.

Veolia’s plans for an EfW plant in Hertfordshire have been in the pipeline for several years, with the company having initially put forward plans a plant at a site at New Barnfield, to fulfil an £800 million waste contract with the county council. However, planning permission for this facility was overturned in summer 2015, following a drawn-out political battle over the development of the plant.

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.

Options

Announcing the cancellation of the contract today, Terry Hone, cabinet member for waste management at Hertfordshire county council, said “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.

“This leaves us with a substantial problem as we’re running out of options for dealing with the residual waste Hertfordshire currently produces.”

Cllr Terry Hone, Hertfordshire county council

“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.”

Currently, the council says it transports around 250,000 tonnes of waste a year by road to landfill sites and energy recovery facilities in neighbouring counties. These contracts are in place until 2024 “at the latest”.

Commenting following the announcement, a spokesperson for Veolia, said: “We will not be challenging the previous Secretary of State’s decision to refuse planning permission for the Rye House Energy Recovery Facility in Hertfordshire, despite the Independent Inspector’s recommendation to approve this project.”

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