The proposal was called in for decision by the Secretary of State following the resolution of the county council to approve it. The public inquiry ran for 22 days closing on 25 October 2013. The initial decision letter was issued in July 2014 and subject to a legal challenge heard in December 2014. The main inquiry parties included the developer Veolia, the County Council, Welwyn Hatfield Council, English Heritage, New Barnfield Action Fund and Gascoigne Cecil Estates.
The decision is of interest in relation to the proper approach to balancing the need for waste provision as against protection of the Green Belt; as well as other main issues which included landscape and visual effects; effects on heritage assets (an ensemble of heritage assets of exceptional significance including Hatfield House (G1), Hatfield Old Palace (G1), and Hatfield Park (G1 RP&G); highways and traffic; technology choice; urgency of need; carbon balance and climate change; and prematurity.
Wayne Beglan appeared for Welwyn Hatfield Council.
Mark Lowe QC and Rob Williams appeared for Hertfordshire County Council.