Extra £85k of public money pledged for battle against Hatfield incinerator

PUBLISHED: 12:30 17 July 2013

Councillor Mandy Perkins

Councillor Mandy Perkins

Archant

EVEN more public cash is set to be spent on fighting the controversial New Barnfield incinerator, it has been announced.

"We’re all paying for fighting both sides, it should never have come to this."

Councillor Lynn Chesterman

On Monday, politicians agreed unanimously to pledge an extra £85,000 for a legal battle – on top of £125,000 agreed earlier this year.

But a council chamber heard it meant taxpayers were facing a “triple whammy” - funding both the battle for, and the battle against, the controversial plant.

Members at Welwyn Hatfield Council heard that as a planning inquiry is set to last six weeks – instead of the three originally expected – more cash is needed.

The independent probe, called after the Government intervened ahead of a final ruling on the 380,000 tonne a year plant, will be held in September.

"Whilst this is a lot of money, we cannot contest half a case."

Councillor Mandy Perkins

Appealling for the cash to be pledged to present a legal case opposing the hated plant, Councillor Mandy Perkins, Conservative, who is responsible for planning, said: “Whilst this is a lot of money, we cannot contest half a case.”

Borough councillors heard Hatfield Town Council will also be approached to pledge cash.

In October, the Welwyn Hatfield Times revealed Herts County Council had already spent more than £5million on the application.

It is preparing a legal case alongside energy firm Veolia in favour of the project.

Councillor Lynn Chesterman, Labour, said: “I want to record the absolute nonsense that the local residents are having not a double whammy, but a triple whammy.

“We’re paying council tax to county to pay their legal fees, we’re paying council tax to this council, and we’re paying council tax to the town council, who may possibly also be paying to fight this. We’re all paying for fighting both sides, it should never have come to this.”

Councillor Tony Skottowe, Lib Dem, agreed: “It would be pointless not to carry on.”

Councillor Sandra Kyriakides, independent, said: “We have to fight this tooth and nail as long as it takes and as much as it costs.”

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