Veolia’s proposals to build an energy-from-waste (EfW) plant for Hertfordshire County Council have been accepted, after a previous plan was blocked by former communities secretary Eric Pickles.
The council’s cabinet committee panel made a final decision on the revised project plan (RPP) after the community safety and waste management panel’s backing earlier in the month was decided by the casting vote of the chairman.
Veolia will now need to submit a planning application but, if the RPP had been rejected, the potential 30-year contract with the council would have been terminated.
As part of this process Veolia will consult local residents, businesses and other interested parties.
Richard Thake, the council’s cabinet member for community safety & waste management, said: “We need to find a long-term solution for disposing of Hertfordshire’s residual waste and it is essential that this is a cost effective and appropriate solution. After a detailed evaluation and examination of alternative options we believe Veolia’s RPP offers the best value for money.
“The proposed site will divert 97% of waste from landfill which is good news and at the same time will substantially reduce the emissions associated with our existing waste transport arrangements. So as well as providing good value for money for Hertfordshire taxpayers, it’s a better environmental choice.
“In an ideal world all waste would be reused or recycled and Hertfordshire’s residents are doing a great job but with current recycling rates around 50% and significant housing growth expected in the county we have to plan for an on-going, value for money and suitable way of disposing of the residual waste we continue to produce. We believe this energy from waste facility is the most appropriate way to do that.”
The latest plan involves construction of an EfW facility at Rye House, Hoddesdon, to recover energy from around 275,000 tonnes of residual waste produced in the county each year.
Veolia’s original proposal for a facility at New Barnfield, Hatfield, was halted by former communities secretary Pickles in 2014 because it was in the green belt.
In October 2014, Defra withdrew PFI credits for the scheme worth £115m, saying the UK had sufficient infrastructure capacity. This prompted the council to ask Veolia to draw up alternative plans, which were submitted in September last year.