Government delays on energy from waste facility could cost Hertfordshire taxpayers £1.37million
Energy bosses are still waiting for an answer to the 320,000-tonne question on waste in Herts.
The proposed Rye House facility, in Hoddesdon, is designed to process up to 320,000 tonnes of residual waste a year from across the county - producing heat and electricity and preventing the use of landfill.
Herts County Council had initially been told the decision would be available on or before May 7 - within five days of the local elections - by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
But at a meeting of the council cabinet on Monday, members were told that they were still awaiting a decision from the government.
Councillors considered a number of changes to the contract it has with Veolia, including the ‘planning permission longstop date’. This agreement says either the county council or Veolia can pull out on June 30 this year, should ‘satisfactory planning permission’ not be in place. And at the meeting the cabinet agreed to extend that date to December 31, 2020 - allowing time for the decision to be published and for any challenges to be dealt with. Councillors were told that should the contract lapse as a result of lack of planning permission, the county council would have to pay Veolia £1.37million.
Council leader Cllr David Williams said it was “a matter of disappointment” not to have heard anything from the government.
Campaigners against the controversial facility fear it will increase pollution and degrade the Hoddesdon area, being too close to residential areas and schools.