Hertfordshire County Council planned to build a 380,000 tonnes per year waste incinerator on the New Barnfield site in South Hatfield, close to Welham Green.
There was a Public Inquiry into Veolia’s Planning Application to build this incinerator in Autumn 2013.
On July 8th 2014 the Secretary of State at the Department of Communities and Local Government announced the decision of the Inquiry Inspector (Inspector Richards) against the planning application, and ruled that planning permission should not be granted.
Congratulations to the many, many people who contributed to this successful outcome.
This incinerator was massively opposed, because of the effect it would have on people and on the environment. The impact would have been particularly strong in Hatfield, Welham Green and Colney Heath, but there would also have been negative impact, especially visual impact, over a very wide area.
The incinerator would have burned domestic waste from Hertfordshire, plus commercial and industrial waste from anywhere in order to use the enormous capacity, and also clinical waste.
Herts CC made a contract with Veolia Environmental Services to build this incinerator, subject to planning permission. A Planning Application was made by Veolia in December 2011, and 6300 responses against it were sent to Herts County Council by the closing date of January 31st 2012. Veolia’s Planning Application was approved by a majority of the Development and Control Committee of HCC on Oct 24th 2012. This decision then went to the Secretary of State at the Department of Communities and Local Government. The Secretary of State called-in Veolia’s Planning Application on Jan 28th 2013, and there was a Public Inquiry, led by independent inspector David Richards, from September the10th to Oct 25th 2013. A decision by the Secretary of State, against the planning application, was made on June 8th 2014. Veolia and HCC have 6 weeks from that date to ask for an appeal. They have to have legal grounds for any appeal.
The application was opposed not only by thousands of residents both local and from wider in the county, but also by Welwyn/Hatfield M.P. Grant Shapps, Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, Hatfield Town Council, local Parish Councils, North Mymms Green Belt Society, and many other local organisations. It was also opposed by important national Statutory Consultees, including English Heritage.
During the time that Herts CC were in the process of procuring an incinerator, they did not have approval from the Planning Inspectorate for their overall Waste Strategy. The first section, the Waste Core Strategy, had final HCC approval on Nov 5th 2012.
The second section, the Waste Sites Allocations Document, went out to public consultation in Spring 2012, and 2000 objections were made to the inclusion of New Barnfield as a waste site, a site with potential for waste management including “thermal treatment” (i.e. incineration). HCC altered the document to some extent, but did not remove New Barnfield from the list of possible waste sites. HCC conducted another Public Consultation on Waste Site Allocations in Nov/Dec 2012, and 2317 objections were made to the use of New Barnfield as a waste site.
This Waste Sites Allocations document was examined at a Hearing in Public, in front of independent inspector Andrew Freeman, from September 3rd to Sept 5th 2013, and Nov 5th to Nov 6th, with Nov 5th specifically about the New Barnfield site. There was a Public Consultation on some proposed changes to the Waste Sites Allocations document, from Jan 6th to Feb 17th 2014. The proposed changes did not include the deletion of New Barnfield from the list of allocated waste sites in Hertfordshire. 2994 objections to the inclusion of New Barnfield as a waste site were made. However, in April 2014, Inspector Freeman approved the Waste Sites Allocations Plan, and it finally was adopted by HCC on July 15th 2014.
Inspector Freeman’s report says that any waste management development on the New Barnfield site should have no greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt than the existing buildings, and that the design including its scale has to be respectful to the context of the site. Inspector Freeman also says that there is a conflict between development of thermal facilities and these limitations, as thermal facilities are normally larger than the buildings presently on the site. He also says that in any development at New Barnfield, the impact on heritage assets, including Hatfield House, must be assessed.
The news blog on this website carries the latest news, information and copies of our latest leaflets.
“Hatfield Against Incineration” is a non-party-political group founded by residents of Hatfield and Welham Green. The campaign against an incinerator at New Barnfield is supported by Welwyn-Hatfield M.P., Grant Shapps (Chair of Conservative Party), Welwyn-Hatfield Borough Council, Hatfield Town Council, and by some Hertfordshire County Councillors (Labour, Lib-Dem, Green and some Conservative county councillors). We are also supported by environmental groups throughout the county, including Herts WithOut Waste, Transition Town Movements, and Friends of the Earth.
Please support our campaigning activities and respond to any consultations about the proposed incinerator.
INCINERATION IS THE WRONG WAY TO DEAL WITH WASTE
for the following reasons:
1. There is not enough non-recyclable and non-compostable domestic waste to feed an incinerator now, and there will certainly not be enough in 25 years time. A scheme for waste treatment must allow for the increase in recycling and decrease in production of waste (such as packaging) that will happen in the future. The Herts incinerator scheme assumes a low rate of recycling and would be a disincentive to improving recycling.
2. An incinerator would be expensive - £220 million to build, using expensive PFI funding, and £1.3billion to run. This cost needs to be compared not to landfill, which will stop, but with environmentally-friendly methods, which are cheaper. These costs have to be paid for by residents through council tax.
3. An incinerator would waste valuable resources such as paper and plastics.
4. Incinerators create C02, which contributes to global warming.
5. Incinerators create emissions that many scientific researchers know to be harmful to health.
6. Incinerators create dangerous toxic fly ash, which has to be landfilled on a specially licensed site, and which has to be transported there.
7. The modern alternative to incineration is to aim for zero waste, with anaerobic digestion and composting being used for biodegradable waste, with most other materials being recycled. Some landfill can safely be used for inert materials, and landfilling these does not carry a heavy penalty.
8. An incinerator would make a huge impact on one area. It would create many thousands of unnecessary lorry movements, all causing pollution.
THE NEW BARNFIELD SITE IS NOT SUITABLE TO BE A WASTE SITE
And these are some of the reasons:-
1. An incinerator here would be right next to Southfield School for primary-age children with special needs, and heavy traffic would pass the school, causing noise and pollution.
2. An incinerator here would be on the same narrow access-road as a Tesco Depot, which already has lorries every few minutes, so traffic chaos would be caused.
3. The site is very close to housing and a recreation ground, which would be affected by traffic noise and fumes.
4. The site is in the Green Belt, a narrow strip preventing the merging of Hatfield with the village of Welham Green.
5. There is a Covenant on the land, restricting its use to libraries, schools and similar amenities. Herts CC would have to over-ride this Covenant.
6. The site is next to a wild-life site with a Countryside Management Services Nature-Walk. Many rare birds can be seen here. There is another wild-life site actually on New Barnfield.
7. A cycle-path, part of the Great North Way, runs along the edge of the site.
8. Immediately next to the site, and actually on the site, are ponds containing great-crested newts, a protected species which it is illegal to disturb.
9. Visual intrusion would affect a very wide area from this high site. A close view would be seen from the cemetery, and by residents of Welham Green and Hatfield.
10. Emissions from the stack would spread over a large area, including the grounds of nearby historic Hatfield House.
11. The site is not empty. The Central Resources Library (a lending and reference library) would have to be moved or closed. This amenity would be lost to Hatfield and to the county.