Protestors optimistic ahead of New Barnfield incinerator meeting

PUBLISHED: 09:22 24 October 2012 | UPDATED: 10:10 24 October 2012

Protesters gather before the incinerator decision meeting at New Barnfield Incinerator site

Protesters gather before the incinerator decision meeting at New Barnfield Incinerator site

Archant

MORE than £5 million has been spent on the New Barnfield incinerator procurement project over the last five years - before building has even started.

Today, Wednesday, County Hall chiefs will face unprecedented calls for a U-turn at a crunch planning meeting, which will decide whether the hated facility will go ahead.

Dozens of protestors are set to descend on the meeting, with Herts County Council there is a waiting list for limited public seats.

The 380,000-tonne-a-year facility is recommended for approval.

Figures revealed to the WHT yesterday show that since 2007, £5.04 million of taxpayers’ money has been spent on the project.

A county council spokesman said: “Over the last five years we’ve spent £5.04m on the complex technical work of planning, analysing and evaluating the best option for dealing with Hertfordshire’s waste, including a formal two-year competitive procurement process to award a contract which will potentially save Hertfordshire’s taxpayers at least £779 million on the cost of waste disposal over the 25-year contract period.”

At Hertford County Hall, 15 councillors will weigh up the project from 10am.

If they vote in favour, the decision will then go before the Department of Communities and Local Government - which has the authority to green light the project.

Cathy Roe, of Hatfield Against Incineration (HAI) who will be protesting before the meeting starts, said: “It is important people are there to show they do not support the incinerator.

“They [the councillors] are yet to make a decision and obviously we are hoping to persuade them to change their minds.

“They are going in there with an open mind and will hear what ever the community will have to say.”

Two petitions will be presented, and seven organisations will speak against the project.

A representative from Veolia, the company behind the £220m incinerator, will also speak.

Ms Roe said: “Even if the plan is passed today [Wednesday] then this is not the end of the procedure.

“Our campaign will continue and we are very optimistic the Department of Communities and Local Government will reject it.

“It is not the end of the line.”

Last week the council announced a controversial ticket policy for the decision meeting, where anyone wanting to attend had to book in advance.

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