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Fury as eco concerns left out of incinerator hearing
Wednesday September 24th 2003
ANTI-incinerator campaigners reacted with fury yesterday when key health and environmental issues were ruled outside the remit of an An Bord Pleanala oral hearing in Cork into plans for a €100m toxic-waste incinerator.
The incinerator, which is being built by Belgian firm Indaver is due to be located in Ringaskiddy.
On the second day of the hearing, officials from the board pointed out that the hearing was primarily a planning matter. Chairman Philip Jones explained that, following overnight consultations, it was felt that such issues were outside its remit in light of the Waste Management Act as well as environmental protection legislation.
Yesterday, Cork Harbour for A Safe Environment (CHASE) chairman, Sean Cronin, slated the decision and said that the core issue of the proposed incinerator will be its health and environmental impact: "This project represents a time-bomb for all the communities living here and yet we're told that the oral hearing won't take evidence about it."
In its opening submission, Indaver described Cork Harbour as the natural and obvious choice given the huge concentration of chemical industries there.
The firm yesterday opened its bid to persuade the board to overturn Cork Co Council's rejection of the plan.
Managing director of Indaver (Ireland) John Ahern, yesterday expressed hope that an open and detailed analysis of the proposed incinerator will greatly clarify issues. He also stressed that he remains "quite hopeful" that the board will acknowledge that Ireland needs to be responsible for its own toxic waste.
To date, Ireland is one of only three EU member states - including Greece and Portugal - which must export waste for processing because of the lack of an incineration option. The hearing continues today.
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