Hertfordshire County Council is on the lookout for somewhere to dispose of its rubbish in the future – and that somewhere could be in the north of England.

The county council had hoped that future waste generated by the county could  be used to produce heat and electricity at a planned energy recovery facility.

But plans to build that facility – first in Hatfield and then in Hoddesdon – were rejected by the Secretary of State.

Until 2024 the county’s non-recyclable waste will be dealt with by energy recovery and landfill sites in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and North London.

But now the county council is looking to find contractors to deal with it in the longer term.

And the option of transporting that waste to the North East was highlighted at the latest meeting of the county council’s cabinet.

At that meeting councillors heard that the North East has a high number of residual waste treatment facilities – with more planned.

And it was said that the high capacity – combined with the low competition for space – would mean the price would be “more competitive”.

The report suggests the cost of transporting refuse by road would be likely to be “financially prohibitive”, early estimates have suggested rail could be an option.

According to estimates in the report, transfer of the county’s 250,000 tonnes of residual waste to the North East would require around 237 trains a year.

And the estimated cost of £1.9 million is said to be broadly the same as the cost of sending waste to nearer facilities in Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and North London by road.

The report also says transferring the waste from road to rail would have environmental benefits.

Now council officers will continue to look at the option alongside other disposal options during the procurement process, which was given the go-ahead by the cabinet.

However the report also stresses that as part of the process – for a contract or contracts that would start in 2024 – any option involving rail transport would require consideration of a range of additional factors.

These would include the length of railway sidings available, the speed that the waste can be loaded and unloaded at each end  and whether a return journey could be made in a day.

At the meeting of the cabinet, on May 18, executive member for community safety and waste management Cllr Terry Hone highlighted the impact of the Secretary of State’s decision to reject plans for an energy recovery facility in Hertfordshire.

He told the cabinet it was "very disappointing” that council plans for its own energy recovery facility has been rejected – and that waste had to be shipped out of the county.

He highlighted the financial and environmental cost of the additional journeys generated to transport the waste.

And he said: “Trucks going round,  backwards and forwards, from our stations to the energy recovery facilities – to where we are shipping them out of county – is equivalent nearly every year of going around the globe 30 times.

“That is a lot of trucks going a lot of distances – and generating a lot of pollution.

“So we are not very happy with the fact that we didn’t have those energy recovery facilities approved by the Secretary of State because it does mean that we have to look at alternatives.”

He said the planned energy recovery facility in Hoddesdon would have lasted for 30 years and would have saved the council £100million in transport costs.

He said: “The energy recovery facility which we have planned at Rye House would have lasted 30 years  and would have, in effect,  saved us the equivalent of £100 million in traffic costs  – in just putting things in to trucks and moving across Hertfordshire to other counties.”

This year Hertfordshire residents are expected to generate 550,000 tonnes of waste. Just over half of this is residual waste.

Earlier this year Westmill landfill, near Ware, closed – leaving no operational landfill sites in the county.

At the same meeting the cabinet, councillors gave the go-ahead for officers to develop a waste transfer station in the east of the county this year (2020/21).