Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council has agreed to provide £20,000 as part of a growing fund to legally challenge plans for a controversial 180,000-tonne Hertfordshire energy-from-waste (EfW) facility.
The matched funding has been awarded to The New Barnfield Trust, an organisation aimed at delivering legal support to a campaign opposing the construction of the facility on the New Barnfield site, off Travellers Lane in Hatfield. The Trust is also to receive a donation of £10,000 from the North Mymms Green Belt Society, £15,000 from Hatfield Town Council and more donations are anticipated.
New Barnfield Trust secretary and Hatfield Against Incineration committee member Paul Zukowskyj told MRW: “This funding means our campaign can ensure it gets the best legal representation possible to object both at planning and call-in for the incinerator development.
“The facility is in the wrong place, there’s no question about that. The primary reason the site is unsuitable for industry is that it has a common 100m boundary with the grounds of a special needs school. These are children with autism and all sorts of disorders who are vulnerable to disturbances through vibration and noise, and the plan is to put 44-tonne compacted trash trucks past the front gates of their school.”
Welwyn Hatfield council leader John Dean said the recommendation to release the money was “unanimously supported” by cabinet members.
He said: “Although we are not opposed to an EfW solution to managing the county’s waste, we are vehemently opposed to its location in the town. Our real concerns lay with the potential impact on residents and schoolchildren in the surrounding area.”
Veolia Environmental Services signed the contract for the construction of the facility in July 2011. It will use mechanical pre-treatment to treat 28,000 tonnes of recyclable material and generate 26.6MW of energy, enough to power 50,000 homes.
Aspects of the procurement of the facility were questioned by Hertsmere MP James Clappison, who secured a debate in the House of Commons in February to discuss the proposals.
Hertfordshire County Council executive member for waste management Derrick Ashley said: “The county council is committed to help reduce, re-use and recycle more waste, but we must do something to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.”