Incinerator updates – 1 August 2012

Listed below are previous updates:


HAI Update: 18 September 2012

1. Third Veolia additional information submission – Closing date for objections Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Veolia and their consultants URS have supplied a third set of further information (The main Planning Application consultation ran up to January 2012 – with 6000 objections sent in. This was followed by two further sets of information, which were consulted on in May-June and June-July 2012, with further objections being sent in).

Please note: it is essential that people file objections to each additional set of information supplied otherwise it is more than likely that Veolia will claim that the additional information they have supplied has satisfied earlier objections.

The latest batch of further information mainly concerns:

1. Traffic Movements

The period of greatest change in the number of HGVs approaching the site would be between 10:00 - 11:00.

– On the access road going in front of Southfield School there would be an increase from 25 to 52 vehicle movements and from 0 to 44 HGV movements.

– On the section of Travellers Lane leading to the site, there would be a change from 42 to 87 HGV movements.

– On South Way there would be an increase from 81 to 123 HGV movements.

There are more figures for other hours of the day.

Possible grounds for objections:

This volume of HGV traffic, going past a school for children with special needs, and past residents’ homes, unacceptable because of noise, fumes, danger, intimidation and fear (to pedestrians, cyclists and other road users), and traffic congestion.


2. Wildlife Sites

There would be increases in the deposition of chemicals well above the recommended maximum on a very large number of wildlife sites, local nature reserves and ancient woodland in a wide area surrounding the proposed incinerator. For example the total acid deposition at Oxleys Wood Nature Reserve (adjoining Millwards Recreation Ground in South Hatfield) would be 177% of the recommended maximum (Many of the wildlife sites already have high levels of chemicals deposited on them – this must not be made worse).

Possible grounds for objections:

Threat to wildlife – including historic trees in Hatfield Park, and to young children using these public areas.

There are also letters from Veolia contractors, URS, disputing the impact on Hatfield House and Park, and on Southfield School.


If you want to see all the further information supplied:

Go to HCC website

Use the Search box to go to the 'New Barnfield planning' section
[or this URL:  ]

Click on 'Further information' in the menu on the left, then on 'Further information Sept 2012'.

Or, you can view hard copies of this information in local public libraries, including New Barnfield Library Resources Centre (which is expected to close in November, to clear the site for the incinerator).


Objections can be sent by email to:

Or mail to: New Barnfield Planning, County Hall, Pegs Lane, HERTFORD, SG13 8DN


2. HCC Development Control Committee meeting – provisional dates Wed, 24 and Thu, 25 October 2012

The County Council's Development Control Committee is provisionally scheduled to meet on Wednesday, 24 and Thursday, 25 October 2012 to make a decision on Veolia planning application to build an incinerator at New Barnfield.

Residents and supporters are urged to assemble outside County Hall, Hertford at 09:15 on Wednesday, 24 October 2012 (and Thursday, if you able to make both days).

Afterwards you will be able to attend the meeting in the public gallery (but will not be able to speak).

You may also wish to lobby your local councillor / s to make your wishes known beforehand – particularly as there are local elections early next year, and some of them will be seeking re-election. However, members on the committee will not be able to express a view as, under the rules (bizarre as they may seem), that would exclude them from taking part.


Update 18 September 2012:

As part of the campaign against HCC's planned incinerator at New Barnfield, two public meetings were held on 4 and 12 September 2012 at Welham Green and Hatfield respectively. The packed meetings heard HAI speakers Simon Archer, Cathy Roe and Paul Zukowskyj review the reasons to oppose the incinerator – including damage to the green belt, visual intrusion, damage to heritage, health impacts, climate change impacts and, of course, the awful impacts that the kids with special needs would suffer in the specially designed school that sits directly in the shadow of this proposed monstrosity.

Attendees were urged to gather outside County Hall before the Development Control Committee meeting, which would decide on Veolia's incinerator planning application (details in the Planned Activities box above).

However, it was made clear that even if HCC ruled in favour of their chosen contractor's application it would be far from being a done deal. As it would be 'called' in by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), and the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, would rule on it. Local MP (and recently promoted to cabinet) Grant Shapps has already written with his objections to the scheme and voters cannot be blamed for expecting that his elevated position within the Conservative Party will have some tangible benefit. IF that fails there is still a judicial review to fall back on.

There are unconfirmed reports that ground stability testing at the New Barnfield site revealed that the chalk underneath was fractured. This does not necessarily prevent the site from being developed as cavities could be filled with 'grout', and Paul Zukowskyj said it was not a particularly expensive thing to do (although it would depend on the size of the cavities). However, that would affect the hydro-geology of the area with the prospect of it impacting on a site of special scientific interest (SSSI); namely, the Water End Swallow Holes (which would rule the site out).

On their website, English Nature, describes them as "the only major sinkholes in chalk which are a permanent feature of the landscape, and they constitute the drainage outlet for the largest enclosed karstic basin in England. The site covers a group of more than 15 sinkholes where two streams drain from the London Clay and sink very close to the boundary of the outcrop of the chalk." [a 'karst' being a term applied to an area where the rock has dissolved and ground water drains away in channels or conduits]

However, a poster on the Brookmans Park Forum has since pointed out that these are fed by the Mimmshall Brook. Still this clearly is an area which has cost and other implications and may help tip the balance in favour of sinking this much loathed HCC project.

Curiously, a letter from Veolia-contractors, URS, to County Hall's planning team (published on the HCC site) disputes the impact on Hatfield House and Park. Curiously because there are already indications that there are elevated levels of acidity (largely due to the high volumes of road traffic in the area) being deposited on nature sites in the area. Also, Veolia acknowledged (in the Community Engagement Group minutes) that there have been a number of instances where there have been malfunctions which have resulted in the uncontrolled release of toxins to the environment. It stands to reason that, therefore, they cannot guarantee there will not be a single toxic release with disastrous consequences for the ancient trees in Hatfield Park and the diverse specimens in the arboretum in the gardens of Hatfield House (not forgetting people in the area but it seems the impact on people's health is less important in planning terms).

Finally, it is notable (and laudable) that HCC Councillor Steven Markiewicz (Conservative, Welwyn Garden City South) took the trouble to attend the meeting at the Jim MacDonald Centre.


HAI Update 1 August 2012


View of blimp and streamer from Briars Lane

Visual impact of the incinerator – view from Briars Lane


1. Welham Green Residents' Association meeting – Tuesday, 4 September 2012 (7.30 pm / 19:30)

at North Mymms Social Club (opposite Sibthorpe Arms in Station Road, Welham Green), AL9 7PG.

Latest news about the anti-incinerator campaign will be outlined by members of Hatfield Against Incineration committee (Paul Zukowskyj, Cathy Roe and Simon Archer).


2. HAI Public Meeting – Wednesday, 12 September 2012 (7.30 pm / 19:30)

Jim McDonald Centre, High View (Hilltop), South Hatfield (High View Shopping Area is at top of Bishop's Rise go across the road behind the row of shops to find Jimmy Mac's), AL10 8HR.

Latest news about the anti-incinerator campaign will be outlined by members of Hatfield Against Incineration committee (Paul Zukowskyj, Cathy Roe and Simon Archer).

Please try to come to one of these meetings.





i. December 2011 – Veolia submitted a Planning Application to Herts County Council to build an incinerator at New Barnfield.
January 2012 – 6,000 objections were sent to Herts CC, including many from important organisations.

ii. May-June 2012. Veolia submitted some further information (mainly about the traffic and the visual impact, especially on Southfield School, plus a slightly revised Alterative Sites Assessment). Individuals and organisations made further objections.

iii. June-July 2012. Veolia submitted another set of further information (about the impact on heritage sites such as Hatfield House, North Mymms House, and Gobions Folly Arch, and about the visibility of the plume of emissions). Individuals and organisations made further objections.



Veolia's Planning Application has to be decided on by this committee. The committee has a meeting on Tuesday, 25 September 2012, at which the planning application might be on the agenda (however, it is not yet known for certain).



If HCC's Development and Control Committee do decide to give Planning Permission for the incinerator at New Barnfield, this decision, and all the paperwork, must be looked at by the UK Government's Department of Communities and Local Government (under Secretary of State Eric Pickles). This is because an incinerator at New Barnfield would be development in the Green Belt. The Department can accept, reject, or call a public enquiry (they could 'call in' the decision before the HCC D&C meeting
but have not done so up to now).



A. HCC'S OVERALL WASTE CORE STRATEGY (plans for waste management in the whole county)

This was approved by an Independent Inspector in July 2012, following a hearing in public in November 2011. Changes were made to what Herts CC originally proposed (eg. the policy does not now give precedence to incineration, and there are no references to the specific procurement of an incinerator at New Barnfield).


B. HCC'S WASTE SITES ALLOCATIONS DOCUMENT (This includes New Barnfield as a possible site for waste management, including 'thermal treatment' ie. incineration)

This document went out to public consultation February-March 2012. 2,000 objections were made to the inclusion of New Barnfield as a waste site. The document has still not been to a hearing in public, and therefore has definitely not been approved by an independent inspector. We say that this document should be finalised before any decision is made on the Planning Application for an incinerator at New Barnfield.




Update 1 August 2012

Over 40 responses from organisations are listed on the HCC website. The vast majority are against the Veolia's New Barnfield incinerator. These include WHBC, HTC and five other local parish councils. Objections also come from heritage interest groups – like English Heritage, Garden History Society, and Herts Gardens Trust; and numerous other local and national bodies (like the Ramblers).

Curiously and disappointingly, there appears to be one lone voice in support:

However, the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry's views are likely to carry weight with the Conservative authorities evaluating the arguments for and against granting planning permission. Not least of all, because HCCI are based in Hatfield.

Their letter mentions that 52 permanent jobs will be created but oddly overlooked the fact around close to double that number will go in just clearing the New Barnfield site (and it seems unlikely that Mitsubishi Electric will want to stay on in their offices across the road once the incinerator is being built / operational).

They also refer to construction jobs but as the presence of an incinerator is likely to put off investment in Hatfield town centre and the Hilltop redevelopments (unless its for cheap as chips – poor quality), so that claim doesn't seem particularly credible either.

While the signature has been redacted the name at the bottom of the letter makes their vote in favour seem all the more odd. HCCI Chief Executive Tim Hutchings is a graduate of and visiting lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire; and his many directorships include Hertfordshire Tourism & Leisure Partnership and Groundwork Trust (Hertfordshire) Limited. Information on the internet shows he lives in Hoddesdon, and he's a leading member of their Conservative Association (it will be interesting to see if HCCI backs a waste site there or just in Hatfield).

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