No date yet for Government incinerator decision

PUBLISHED: 10:55 14 November 2012 | UPDATED: 10:58 14 November 2012

An artist's impression of the New Barnfield incinerator

An artist's impression of the New Barnfield incinerator

Archant

A GOVERNMENT department says it is unable to say when it will reach a decision on whether to challenge Hatfield's controversial incinerator plans.

Officials at County Hall say they have asked the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) how long it will take.

A letter shown to the Welwyn Hatfield Times from the DCLG has removed Herts County Council’s right to grant planning permission indefinitely.

A decision had been expected this week, but the department says it needs more time.

The DCLG needs to decide whether to call the decision in - in which case a Planning Inspector would decide whether the hated plant would go ahead.

Or it can give approval to the 380,000-tonne-a-year project, which Herts County Council gave a thumbs up to three weeks ago.

A letter sent to HCC from the DCLG yesterday (Tuesday), removed the right to grant planning permission until “special authorisation” is granted.

A date for authorisation has not been specified to the council and could take weeks or even months to be issued.

The letter from the DCLG states: “It is regretful that we will be unable to complete our consideration of the proposal by 16 November 2012 and, in exercise of his powers under Article 25 of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2010, the Secretary of State hereby directs your Council not to grant permission on the application without special authorisation.

“The direction is issued to enable the National Planning Casework Unit to have a further period in which to consider the proposal.”

Paul Zukowskyj, Hatfield Against Incineration executive member, said: “If the application is called in, I have every confidence that an independent, impartial and experienced inspector, appointed by the DCLG, will realise almost immediately what an abomination this plan is and will advise the Secretary of State to reject it.”

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