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Irish Examiner - 16/01/06
Roche’s incinerator policy challenged

I WAS flabbergasted at Environment Minister Dick Roche’s assertion that Indaver’s incinerators are passing through “one of the most open and rigorous physical planning and environmental licensing regimes in the world” (January 5).

Mr Roche obviously came nowhere near the licence or planning application oral hearings for the Ringaskiddy proposals.

The sound basis on which the whole process rests must be site selection. The WHO has issued guidelines for the safe siting of incinerators. The Ringaskiddy site fails on the criteria set down including, for example, weather conditions that allow the pollutants to linger, flooding and proximity to the new maritime college.

Notwithstanding the poor site selection, the planning process continued. Following a three-week hearing the report of inspector Philip Jones roundly criticised the quality of the planning application, and recommended refusal on 14 planning grounds.

Next came the inquiry into the draft licence that had been issued by the EPA. The health effects of incinerator emissions were the main concern of the hearing.

A Dutch paediatrician, Dr Gavin ten Tusscher, told the hearing that even at current licensed levels, the children in his hospital were suffering health damage as a result of incinerator emissions.

An Irish medical scientist and Government adviser, Dr Anthony Staines, warned of our inadequate infrastructure to safeguard public health. Unfortunately, an EPA employee, with a doctorate in geology, dismissed these submissions.

As for the openness of the Irish planning system, none of the decision-making panel of either the EPA or An Bórd Pleanála came to Cork to answer the questions of community groups.

It is now clear to the people of Cork harbour area that the only logical explanation given for granting permissions for these incinerators is that it is “in line with Government policy.”

If that is so, how it affects our lives, our health and our environment does not matter a fig.

Natasha Harty
Jamesbrook
Midleton
Co Cork

     

Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment
Bishop's Road, Cobh, Co. Cork
Tel - 021 481 5564      Email - info@chaseireland.org
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