Hertfordshire County Council has announced that it will start working with disposal company Veolia to come up with a new waste solution for the area.
Veolia had been expected to run a new waste incinerator in Hatfield, but opposition from local residents led to the cancellation of the project, thanks to a ruling from the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles. The company will now be given the chance to offer an alternative solution for dealing with the waste that is left over in Hertfordshire after the recycling teams have taken their share. The council will give Veolia six months to prepare its new proposal. Upon completion, the council will consider whether to continue working with Veolia or to terminate the contract.
The opportunity for Veolia to come up with an alternative for waste disposal in the county comes at no extra cost to the council, since it was included in the original contract with the firm. Although the council believes that it makes sense to take advantage of this free expertise, some members of the local community have expressed concern about the council working with Veolia again. The initial proposal for an incinerator at New Barnfield was met with significant opposition, so there is some anxiety about what a new proposal might look like.
The concern is particularly high because Veolia is currently in the process of pursuing legal action against the planning decision made by the Secretary of State. Grant Shapps, MP for Welwyn Hatfield, was among those to express doubts about the continuing relationship between the council and Veolia while this legal process is ongoing. If the legal action is successful, the council will then have the opportunity to decide whether the original plan for the incinerator or the new alternative plan will be the better choice. For the moment, the community remains in a state of uncertainty.
Whatever the outcome, the council emphasises that it has plans in place to keep on top of the county’s waste until 2021. This should provide plenty of time to come up with a long term solution that will meet everyone’s needs.