Residents have expressed concern and anger at a plan put forward by the county council to expand the Waterdale Transfer Station in Garston.
Hertfordshire County Council announced the plans last year, having recently purchased land next door currently being used as coach depot, which will it be used for a new building which will allow larger non-recyclable furniture to be stored on-site.
This would increase the centre’s annual waste throughput from 75,000 tonnes to 250,000. Eric Buckmaster, cabinet member at HCC, previously said of the plans:
“By constructing a new building at the Waterdale Transfer Station, we can manage waste and recycling more effectively, reduce carbon emissions, reduce congestion and provide a more efficient service to residents.”
But residents have written to GarstonNews complaining about the proposal, saying it will only increase an already foul smell of rot that they’ve reported as coming from the site. With four schools and new houses to be built in the area, they’re worried about the toxins the rubbish could release into the air as well.
Resident Shellie Higgins said: “The surrounding houses in Garston have to put up with the smell and noise for years and no one is accountable. The current site leave the main doors open, clearly visible from the recycling centre all weekend, the air pollution is never tested.
“A new housing estate has been built near it and the developers couldn’t use all the land due to the close proximity, so put a child play area there. Why is this allowed so close to a waste transfer station that is currently over capacity with waste?”
Another resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, wrote to GarstonNews expressed further frustration with the plans.
“I am a resident of Bucknalls Lane for over 40 years. This facility has grown over the years without proper consultation. We now have over 60% of rubbish from street collections taken to the site and then transferred to other facilities.
“This last summer the smell at times has been just awful, the site emits a rotting odour which has been smelt by all in the local vicinity including the schools. The issue is that we do not know what is in the odour.”
On the plan’s FAQ page, it is stated that:
“The new tipping hall will have fast acting, automated shutters, enclosing the waste throughout operational hours to reduce the risk of noise and odours escaping; and state of the art odour suppression systems will be part of the design.”
The anonymous resident is less convinced providing us with an image of the site on December 28 where the shutters have been left open. The resident said she had no confidence the council would be true to its word.
The resident has also complained that an ongoing council report into the smells coming from the recycling centre is still not ready, even after the closure of the project’s public consultation period. They argue residents are not being given the full facts on the matter.
Hertfordshire County Council has been contacted for comment.