Newts could spell end for Hatfield incinerator bid

A CONTROVERSIAL plan to build a �220m incinerator in Hatfield could be dead in the water – thanks to a small endangered amphibian.

A CONTROVERSIAL plan to build a �220m incinerator in Hatfield could be dead in the water – thanks to a small endangered amphibian.

In a dramatic twist in the long-running New Barnfield saga, parliamentary hopeful Paul Zukowskyj has uncovered evidence which suggests great crested newts live in Bunchley’s Pond, just a stone’s throw from the site in Travellers Lane.

The species is protected by law and, if newts are found in the pond, then it could force Hertfordshire County Council to look for an alternative incinerator site.

Mr Zukowskyj, the Lib Dem prospective MP for Welwyn Hatfield, said: “From an anti-incinerator campaign perspective, it is really great news.


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“I think it could spell the end for the incinerator at New Barnfield.”

Since 1986, recorders from the Hertfordshire Natural History Society have undertaken three separate surveys at Bunchley’s Pond and, each time, great crested newts have been found.

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Dr Veronica Edmonds-Brown, chairman of the county’s Recorders’ Committee, told the WHT the species is protected by both British and European law.

She also said any construction within a 500m radius of the amphibians would be “illegal”.

Dr Ed Blane, from Natural England, confirmed: “Great crested newts are on the European Protected Species list.

“It is an offence to deliberately capture, kill, or disturb a European Protected Species, or to damage or destroy its breeding site or resting place.”

Mr Zukowskyj said he will now be writing to each of the six companies that are bidding for the council’s waste management contract to bring the newt issue to their attention.

A council spokeswoman said: “In April 2009 we started an environmental impact assessment, part of which is to establish whether there are any endangered species on the site.

“The assessment takes a year and we will have the full findings next spring.”

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