Hertfordshire County Council is still waiting for a government decision on the proposed ‘energy recovery facility’ in Hoddesdon.

The proposed facility 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.

It is at the heart of future plans to manage the waste generated by the county’s residents.

A decision was expected after the local elections in May, but the county council is still waiting for the Secretary of State to decide whether or not the proposal can go ahead.

The continuing delay was highlighted at a meeting of the full county council on Tuesday (July 16).

Liberal Democrat councillor John Hale asked the executive member for community safety and waste management Cllr Terry Hone whether there was an indication as to when the decision might be made.

And he asked what discussions had taken place with the Secretary of State about the costs incurred by the council as a result of the delay.

Cllr Hone said it was “very disappointing” that the council – or Veolia – had not heard anything further.

But he indicated that the leader of the council Cllr David Williams had been lobbying at every opportunity.

Should the contract with Veolia lapse as a result of lack of planning permission, it has been reported that the county council would have to pay the company £1.37 million.

And at the meeting of the full council Cllr Hone acknowledged that there would be “exposure” if it all “went pear-shaped”.

But he said that the cost to the council had not changed.

And he said there were still significant opportunities over a 30-year period for the facility to make £100 million efficiencies.

The controversial application for the ‘energy recovery facility’ has been submitted by waste contractor Veolia.

Campaigners have suggested the planned facility is too big and in the wrong place. They say it would degrade Hoddesdon and increase pollution.

In February last year (2018) the application – was ‘called-in’ by the Secretary of State, who determined it should be considered by a public inquiry.

And following that inquiry, the Planning Inspector’s report was handed to the Secretary of State in February this year.

Initially, the Government had indicated that a decision could be expected from the Secretary of State after the local elections in May.