Listed below are previous updates:
6 March 2012:
At a meeting (10:00, Tuesday, 28 February 2012) at County Hall, councillors voted in favour of moving Southfield School to a temporary site between Woods Avenue and Old Rectory Drive.
The move has been previously discussed at County Hall and by their own admission the move is purely to help French multinational Veolia to get planning permission to build an incinerator next door on the New Barnfield site.
16/05/11 Hertfordshire County Council's Education and Skills Cabinet meeting minutes: “6.1 The current estimate of costs is a top limit of £3.9m, with a residual value of £1.0m after the proposed three year occupation. This represents poor value for money for a temporary relocation of a school. It is only being considered in the context of the bigger financial risk of preventing the granting of planning permission for the waste facility.”
Southfield is a special needs school, and education experts have stated that some of these children are acutely sensitive to their surroundings. Something that was acknowledged in Veolia's planning application.
It is therefore rather galling (to put it mildly) that councillors have the effrontery to claim that they are acting in the best interests of these vulnerable and sensitive children. Or for that matter the interests of residents.
Campaigners have no doubt that the planned move BEFORE a planning decision had been taken on Veolia's incinerator proposals was for no other purpose than to smooth the way to grant permission.
Indeed, if planning permission for the incinerator is refused then an article in the local press revealed that the children would have had to be moved back within 12 months (rather than after 5 years as originally planned).
Southfield is an award-winning school built less than 15-years ago specifically to cater for special needs children. It is likely to have to be abandoned if the incinerator goes ahead. As, in a statement, the school itself has also questioned the wisdom of moving back to the site after an incinerator has been built next door. Put it this way, as it has been acknowledged that breaches of emission limits are inevitably, would you send your children – special needs or otherwise – there?
Also, the costs of the temporary move given in the HCC minutes are much lower than figures reported in the press (£4-5 million).
Fortunately, HAI stalwart, Dr Paul Zukowskyj, had raised the issue of HCC blatantly trying to alter the facts on the ground with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
HCC approved the school's temporary move in the morning only to receive a letter in the afternoon notifying them that DCLG had called in this planning decision and they no longer had the authority to proceed.
Inspectors from the DCLG will examine the various arguments and the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, will issue a ruling.
He may decide to grant permission, refuse permission, link the school move to the incinerator planning application or putting it on hold until after the decision on the incinerator is taken. Or, go for campaigners favoured option, which is to call the entire incinerator planning application in.
Time will tell. However, one thing is clear, HCC's flawed proposals are going to cause more work – the cost of which will be picked up by taxpayers.
In the meantime, it is too early to relax and the closing date for raising objections to HCC's Waste Site Allocations is fast approaching – 19 March 2012.
The HAI leaflet and simplified response fall can be found on the HAI blog site (The Word file can be accessed using the link below):
Incidentally, Dr Zukowskyj is a UH lecturer and LibDem candidate. He is acting in a private capacity, as the University of Hertfordshire is not playing an active role in opposing the incinerator (it seems they value their commercial interests with HCC above that of their corporate social responsibilities. Equally disappointing is the lack of support by the student body – even though there is a NUS national social justice campaign against Veolia.
HAI printed leaflets giving advice on how to oppose the use of New Barnfield and volunteers are delivering them to houses throughout Hatfield, Welham Green, Brookmans Park, and Colney Heath.
Copies of this leaflet can be found on the HAI blog site or via the link below (Please note: this is a Word 97 file).
Objections can be sent by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or mail to: Spatial and Land Use Planning, CHN216, County Hall, Pegs Lane, HERTFORD, SG13 8DN
Or respond online via through HCC's website (there is a link at the bottom of the page to an online form but you will be restricted to 3,900 characters):
Or via HCC dedicated consultation site:
Or handed in, by Friday, 16 March 2012, to the addresses given on the HAI leaflet (link above).
Update (26 February 2012):
5,759 objections to Veolia's incinerator planning application were sent in before the 31 January 2012 deadline.
Hot on its heels, on 6 February 2012, Hertfordshire County Council unveiled yet another consultation, 'Pre-Submission Waste Site Allocations', which represents another opportunity to object to their plans that will be so damaging for New Barnfield and its surroundings. This consultation will run until 19 March 2012. Significantly, the plans also show the land bordering New Barnfield also designated as a waste site (this appears to include the sites currently used by Tesco and Mitsubishi Electric). Their intentions appear to be to turn the whole area into one big rubbish dump (what they call a 'waste park'). Certainly, the chances of that happening would be greatly increased if the incinerator gets the go-ahead as they'll probably argue that as the waste is already being carried to the incinerator it will reduce the need for further road transport.
In what appears to be another coldly calculated ploy HCC is planning on moving Southfield special needs school to a temporary site between Old Rectory Drive and Woods Avenue by September 2012 – before a decision is taken on planning permission for the incinerator. If the incinerator is refused planning permission then the special needs children will be moved back, their lives disrupted again, and millions of taxpayers' money will have been wasted – hard to believe that a local authority can even think of acting in such a callous manner. Campaigners have little doubt that is another underhand ploy by HCC to force through its plans to turn the area into a dump. HCC's Development and Control Committee is holding a meeting at 10:00 on Tuesday, 28 February 2012, at County Hall to discuss their plans. HAI activists and residents are planning on attending.
Update (22 December 2011):
HAI has printed and is distributing leaflets giving advice on how to send in a valid objection to granting planning permission for the incinerator.
To access a copy of the leaflet please click on the link below (please note: the file is in a PDF format so you will need to have the necessary Adobe Reader software installed on your computer to open the file):
The Independent Examination hearings ended on 25 November 2011. Hertfordshire County Council has submitted some amendments to their Core Waste Strategy and details are available on the HCC website (www.hertsdirect.org/examdetails). These changes are now open for a six-week consultation period ending on 30 January 2012. The inspector is now expected to publish her report on 30 March 2012.
For further ideas for objections against Veolia's incinerator planning application, and why it matters please click on the line below: