Huge opposition to Hatfield incinerator

PUBLISHED: 15:00 21 October 2012 | UPDATED: 18:28 21 October 2012

A gas-masked protester at New Barnfield, Hatfield

A gas-masked protester at New Barnfield, Hatfield

Copyright: Silas Manhhod

MORE than 6,300 letters and emails have been sent to County Hall about the hated Hatfield incinerator – with just 10 in favour, it has emerged.

After a record response to the application, Herts County Council has revealed that a mere 10 of the 6,310 public comments backed the incinerator, with all the rest against it.

The council says the £220million plant is the most complicated application officers have ever dealt with.

The 380,000-tonne a year incinerator, poised to be built on a strip of Green Belt land in New Barnfield, Hatfield, has provoked fierce debate and public anger over the last four years.

In 2011-12, the council spent £621,152.53 on the project.

Protest groups are now calling for as many people as possible to attend the final decision meeting next Wednesday, October 24 – but spaces are limited.

The council will reveal whether or not it will allow Veolia Environmental Services to build the much-loathed burner, with a report released ahead of the meeting recommending approval.

Opponents cite not enough rubbish to burn due to Welwyn Hatfield’s high recycling rates, the threat to endangered wildlife and building the incinerator next to a special needs primary school as just some of the justifications for rejecting the bid.

Meanwhile the council say the incinerator is desperately needed as Hertfordshire is running out of landfill sites and the taxes are too high.

Grant Shapps has been against the incinerator since it was first proposed. The Welwyn Hatfield MP and now Conservative Party co-chairman, said: “We’ve fought this incinerator long and hard and regardless of what happens at the planning meeting, that’s exactly what we’ll continue to do.

“I’ve already written to the Secretary of State asking for the whole process to be ‘called in’ and depending on what happens at the meeting I’ll be renewing that call urgently.”

Welwyn Hatfield Council has been opposed to the plans since they were first put forward by the county council.

A spokeswoman said: “We are vehemently against its location in the town and our concerns lie with the substantial visual impact of developing this Green Belt site as well as with the potential impact on residents and schoolchildren in the surrounding area.

“This will remain our stance at Hertfordshire County Council’s Development Control Committee meeting on October 24, when borough councillor Mandy Perkins, our executive member for planning and business, addresses the committee.”

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