Veolia says it remains committed to the proposed energy recovery plant in Hertfordshire but is happy to consider the local authority’s request for an alternative option for treating the county’s residual waste.
The waste management company is due in court next month to challenge a ruling by the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles in July against planning permission for a recycling and energy recovery facility at New Barnfield, Hatfield.
Hertfordshire County Council, dealt a further blow in October when Defra withdrew PFI credits worth £115m arguing that the UK has sufficient infrastructure capacity, is now asking Veolia to prepare an alternative option.
Terry Douris, Hertfordshire’s cabinet member for waste management, said the company would 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,” he said. “As we have free access to Veolia’s expertise, it would be short-sighted not to ask them for an alternative.
“We have plans in place to deal with waste up to 2021 so we have sufficient time to come up with a long-term solution that is both environmentally and financially sound.”
In response, a Veolia spokesman said: “Our strong belief remains that our original solution is the best option available and we are challenging the Secretary of State’s planning decision not to allow a facility at New Barnfield.
“We have, nevertheless, been asked to prepare an alternative, next-best, long-term option for Hertfordshire County Council’s residual waste and we welcome the opportunity to develop a cost-effective and environmentally sound solution for local residents that will help to divert the maximum possible amount of waste away from landfill.”