County Hall Conservatives blasted over incinerator decision

PUBLISHED: 10:01 25 October 2012

An artist's impression of the New Barnfield incinerator

An artist's impression of the New Barnfield incinerator

Archant

POLITICAL fallout from yesterday's controversial incinerator decision - branded a "dark Satanic mill" by critics - has already begun.

Following a tense day-long meeting, members of Herts County Council’s development control committee voted by an 11-4 majority in favour of the hated plant.

Dozens of protestors held a demonstration outside County Hall ahead of the meeting, and campaigners have vowed to lobby the government to overturn the ruling.

Three Liberal Democrat councillors and a Labour member voted against the application, while the 11-strong Conservative contingent on the committee backed it.

Following the meeting Councillor Malcolm Cowan, Lib Dem, told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “I’m very disappointed the Tories voted along party lines.

“This was pre-determined five years ago.”

But he said he was confident the decision could be overturned by a government call-in, or judicial review.

And borough Councillor Kieran Thorpe, Labour, said: “No matter what the opinion of blinkered faraway Tory county councillors may be, this fight now moves to a higher level where the hope must be that those who can spot common sense from spin.”

At yesterday’s meeting, Mr Thorpe spoke on behalf of the New Barnfield Group, a cross-party movement against the incinerator.

And the Conservative planning chief at Welwyn Hatfield Council said she was fuming with her County Hall counterparts.

Councillor Mandy Perkins, who blasted the county council for its treatment of neighbouring Southfield School - which is set to be relocated during the five year construction period - said: “I’m very disappointed, and I’m even more disappointed with those members who voted for this, who are also members of St Albans and Hertsmere Councils (which also opposed the bid).”

A statement issued by County Hall after the vote said: “The facility will make a major contribution towards the delivery of ambitious targets for waste management in Hertfordshire. It offers the best financial and environmental solution to Hertfordshire’s waste challenge.

“The Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility will generate 26.6 megawatts of electricity from 380,000 tonnes of residual waste generated in Hertfordshire. This will be supplied to the national grid, replacing electricity generated using fossil fuels.”

What do you think about yesterday’s decision? The Welwyn Hatfield Times will be running extensive coverage of the issue in next week’s paper. Send your opinions to letters@whtimes.co.uk

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