UPDATE: Council-owned company behind Luton Airport U-turns over its support for incinerator

The incinerator in Portsmouth
The incinerator in Portsmouth

The council-owned company behind Luton Airport has retracted its backing for the Harpenden-Luton incinerator just two months after sending the developer a letter of support

In an extraordinary U-turn, the chairman of London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL), Cllr Andrew Malcolm, sent a letter to the developer Emsrayne Renewable Energy Ltd retracting their previous endorsement of the project.

Luton News recently reported that Robin Porter, Chief Operating Officer of LLAL and deputy Chief Executive of Luton Borough Council, sent a letter in support (in June) of the proposed heat and power incinerator at New Mill End.

In the retraction letter seen by Luton News, Cllr Malcolm states that the LLAL board met on Monday, July 30, and that there was “considerable concern” that a technical letter of support had been sent without full discussion with the board.

It goes on to state that LLAL has decided to “immediately withdraw its support” for the incinerator project and it instructs the developer not to use or quote the previous letter in any way.

The retraction could be a blow for Emsrayne, which depends upon “very special” circumstances in order to get planning permission to build on the high-graded Greenbelt land.

The chairman of campaign group Stop Harpenden Luton Incinerator, Tim Armstrong-Taylor said: “This revelation effectively removes the ‘Very Special’ planning circumstances Emsrayne explained were key to their obtaining the approval to build the plant in the Green Belt at a meeting with Wheathampstead Parish Council last month.”

Although the plot of land proposed for the incinerator lies between Luton and Harpenden, it falls within Central Bedfordshire Council, which is expected to receive a formal planning application in September.

Emsrayne stated: “The plans for Lea Bank Energy Park are entirely mischaracterised as “the Harpenden-Luton Incinerator.” The facility is neither in Harpenden nor Luton, nor is it simply an incinerator, that being something which burns waste with no other benefit.

“We received an earlier technical letter of support from LLAL that recognised the benefits of the Lea Bank Energy Park project to the Airport. While these benefits still stand, we have since been asked by LLAL not to use this letter.”