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Collaboration call for Hertfordshire waste strategy

One of the local authorities opposed to plans for a new energy-from-waste (EfW) facility in Hertfordshire has called for a more collaborative approach to waste facilities in the county.

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council’s comments follow the continued refusal of the communities department (DCLG) to grant planning permission for the New Barnfield EfW facility, to be operated by Veolia on behalf of Hertfordshire County Council.

Welwyn Hatfield says the county should have taken more notice of objections to the project and that a more inclusive approach could be fruitful.

Simon Chivers, principal planner at Welwyn, said: “We would say there wasn’t as much collaboration with [us] and other councils that there might have been. There are a couple of things that could happen now. Veolia would look at the [DCLG] decision and seek a challenge but we would hope it would not want to continue this saga.”

On 7 July, Veolia submitted a draft alternative solution and a spokesman said: “Commercial and confidential discussions between Veolia and Hertfordshire remain ongoing as the authority determines its next steps in relation to that proposal and the other options available. “

Chivers thought this might involve other sites or be a scaled down facility on the New Barnfield site. He added: “The county council has to decide whether to look at Plan B or whether it wants to part company with Veolia.”

Hertfordshire has said there will be an extensive evaluation of a revised plan for waste and it expects to provide more information later in the year.

In an official statement, it added: “When appropriate we will work closely through the Hertfordshire Waste Partnership to discuss the implications of the revised project plan, and whether or not this represents the best possible solution for long-term waste disposal arrangements.

“We are determined to secure effective and good value disposal arrangements for dealing with Hertfordshire’s local authority-collected residual waste, and we are confident we will succeed in doing so over the next year.”

The statement pointed out that the county was close to meeting the 50% recycling target ahead of schedule. This it said was due to changes in its kerbside services, which included increased capture of dry recyclate materials and the introduction of separate food waste services in some parts of the county.

Chivers said there were concerns raised during the public enquiry in 2013 as to how increasing recycling rates might affect the amount of residual waste to feed the New Barnfield plant, although he denied that the council was against EfW technologies.

“The current interim measures could lead to equally sustainable waste solutions and it’s all about getting waste away from landfill,” he said.

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