Beds, Herts & Bucks

Hoddesdon incinerator: Public inquiry to be held

Rye House site Image copyright Veolia
Image caption The site lies adjacent to an existing gas-fired power station and other waste treatment facilities

A public inquiry will be held over plans for an incinerator in Hertfordshire after the government "called in" the planning application.

Veolia's proposal for the energy recovery facility in Ratty's Lane, Hoddesdon, was agreed in principle by the county council in 2016.

Local objections include the plant's size, location and the increased traffic it would bring.

The council said it was "very disappointed" at the call-in decision.

The facility is designed to treat a maximum of 350,000 tonnes of waste a year, generating enough power for 70,000 homes each day, and would mean all of Hertfordshire's local authority waste could be treated in the county.

In December, a week before the council was due to consider planning permission, the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) issued a holding direction.

This meant that while the council granted planning permission, the authority was unable to issue the decision notice until the MHCLG decided whether to call it in.

'Adds pressure'

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid will now appoint a planning inspector to hold a public inquiry, but will make the final decision himself.

Councillor Terry Hone, cabinet member for waste management, said there was a "compelling case" for planning permission and hoped the secretary of state would "move swiftly" in his deliberations.

"Continuing delay to the scheme adds pressure to Hertfordshire's bill for disposing of waste, although the project will still provide a very good value for money solution compared with other options," he said.

Tim Hutchings, the council's deputy leader and a Broxbourne borough councillor, said it was "great news" for all those opposed to the proposal but "not the end of the battle".

"This decision simply gives us the right to fight on and fight on we will," he said.

An MHCLG spokesman said "all the relevant aspects of the proposed development can be examined in more detail" at the inquiry.

A Veolia spokesman said it was "shocked at the unexpected decision" and was "considering all [its] options".

"We cannot think of any basis for this on planning grounds as the application has already been approved locally by the appropriate authorities," a statement said.

"This decision sends out a negative message to private companies looking to invest millions of pounds in much needed infrastructure in the UK."

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites