Hatfield: No place for an incinerator

Sir – As reported (WHT, June 3), residents of Hatfield recently met to voice their opposition to the county council s plan to build a waste incinerator at New Barnfield in South Hatfield. There are many more reasons to oppose this plan than were included

Sir - As reported (WHT, June 3), residents of Hatfield recently met to voice their opposition to the county council's plan to build a waste incinerator at New Barnfield in South Hatfield.

There are many more reasons to oppose this plan than were included in the report.

The site is totally unsuitable for an incinerator, which would cause traffic problems and pollution which would affect the health of people living, working or being educated in the area. On any site, incineration is an expensive and outdated way to deal with waste.

The site is unsuitable because it is right next to Southfield School, which was purpose-built in 1995 for children with learning difficulties, including autistic children. It is also close to housing and the children's play area at the Millwards estate. On the road between the site and the A1, which would be used by refuse lorries from the whole county and beyond, there is the cemetery and the park and ride car park for the University. The site has open space and ponds, with wildlife.


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On the site there is the central resources library, a valuable resource for the people of Hatfield. There is also the Park Education Support Centre, helping young people who have had problems in mainstream schooling.

The county council has already made plans to move these two facilities from the site, although they say that no decision has been made about an incinerator and although there has been no public consultation.

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The county council chose this site as the 'reference site' not because it is suitable but because they happen to own it, as is reported in the minutes of the cabinet meeting on October 20.

The minutes of the meeting of Hertfordshire Waste Partnership Members Group of April 27, 2009 show that they intend to clear the site "in order to present New Barnfield as a viable site to the market and ensure that it is vacant and available to the successful contractor".

Most people opposing an incinerator at New Barnfield are opposed not just to the use of this site, but to incineration.

Incineration creates toxic ash, which pollutes air and water. It discourages recycling because incinerators require a minimum amount of waste to operate. It is also the most expensive option.

There should instead be an increase in recycling, particularly by providing residents with easy ways to recycle card, plastic, other bottles and food waste. For the remaining rubbish, there are ways of avoiding land-fill which are much better for the environment than incineration.

Hatfield has enough problems without having an incinerator here. Among them are the failure to develop the town centre, the loss of the planned new hospital and the downgrading of the QE2.

People concerned about the incinerator can write to Richard Brown, assistant director, environmental management group, at County Hall.

They can also contact their county councillors, especially Stuart Pile, who has just been re-elected to represent Hatfield South on the county council, having promised in his election material that he will oppose the building of an incinerator at New Barnfield.

Cathy Row, South Hatfield.

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