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Irish Examiner - 14/02/05
EPA oral hearing - Incinerators’ impact must be monitored

FEW planning issues have inflamed emotions more than the controversial proposal for a waste incinerator complex at Ringaskiddy, in Cork harbour, which comes under the microscope today.

There will be intense public interest in the EPA oral hearing in Cork into the application for a waste management licence to operate the State’s first toxic-waste facility. A judicial review of the project is pending.

This is the latest round of a bitter battle being waged by 20,000 people from local communities against plans by Indaver Ireland Ltd to construct two incinerators on the site, one for industrial waste and the other for municipal refuse, each with a capacity to burn 100,000 tonnes annually.

At the heart of the long-running row is a perennial conflict involving the need for local authorities to dispose of a growing mountain of waste despite a tide of opposition based on health, environmental and property fears.

Nobody wants to live beside an incinerator or a dump but the dilemma is that pressure is mounting to provide such facilities as Ireland struggles to dispose of its toxic, commercial and domestic waste.

Because Bord Pleanála granted planning permission for the Ringaskiddy project against the advice of its own inspector, who gave 14 reasons why it should be turned down, it is understandable that local communities believe agencies of the State are lined up against them.

While the international company behind the project insists the operation will be safe, doubts persist after a major report found the evidence of a link between cancer and incinerators to be inconclusive.

Researchers claim Ireland’s health information systems are not sufficiently developed to support routine monitoring of the health of people living near waste sites. That heightens the need for reliable systems to measure the health and environmental impact of landfill dumps and incinerators.

As Ireland seeks ways to dispose of industrial and domestic waste, it would be hard to exaggerate the local, regional and national significance of today’s hearing.


Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment
Bishop's Road, Cobh, Co. Cork
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