Secretary of State Eric Pickles will now reconsider planning permission for Veolia’s £1bn energy from waste facility on green belt land at New Barnfield after the High Court overturned the government’s rejection of the plant
Veolia won the appeal by claiming government rules on planning and waste had been ignored, after planning inspectors turned down the facility, saying it was an “inappropriate” development.
The 380,000 tonnes-per-year energy-from-waste plant near Hatfield was refused planning permission by Pickles over concerns about the plant’s impact on the Green Belt. (See CIWM Journal Online story)
Pickles said the plant, which was originally approved by Hertfordshire county council in 2012, would prevent other treatment capacity from being developed in the area as it would “absorb” a large proportion of the waste generated.
Terry Douris, cabinet member – “The county council will continue to follow developments regarding this case while awaiting a revised project plan from Veolia. We are fully aware that there have been concerns in the local area about these plans and we remain sensitive to these”
DCLG published its decision on the proposals, saying: “Though the site of the proposed building is already developed, the Secretary of State also considers that the building’s very large bulk and visual prominence compared with existing structures would be detrimental to the visual perception of the remaining gap between Hatfield and Welham Green.
“For this reason he considers that the proposed building would be harmful in terms of another of the purposes of the Green Belt – to prevent neighbouring settlements merging into one another.”
Hertfordshire County Council’s Cabinet asked Veolia for an alternative option for dealing with Hertfordshire’s residual waste late last year. (See CIWM Journal Online story)
Mr Justice Holgate at the High Court overturned the decision, saying Pickles “got it wrong” in balancing harm to the green belt with the need for the waste facility.
Conservative MP Anne Main has slammed the decision-making process. She said: “It’s outrageous that local planning decision-making is being overturned by the courts in favour of the developers.
Hertfordshire County Council has spent nearly £6m supporting the project.
Terry Douris, cabinet member for highways and waste management, said: “We acknowledge the judgement regarding Veolia’s High Court challenge.
“The county council will continue to follow developments regarding this case while awaiting a revised project plan from Veolia. We are fully aware that there have been concerns in the local area about these plans and we remain sensitive to these.”