Irish Examiner - 14/02/2005
Residents vent anger at incinerator decision
Environmental activists fighting plans for a toxic burner in Cork harbour today claimed the Government had washed its hands of local people’s health.
CHASE, Cork Harbour Alliance for A Safe Environment, challenged the Environmental Protection Agency to address fears over pollution from the Indaver Ringaskiddy waste incinerator.
At an oral hearing into the granting of the licence, CHASE claimed no government department had taken responsibility for safeguarding the welfare of local residents.
The group, which has collected 30,000 names opposing the project, said neither the Department of Health, Department of the Environment, the EPA or the Health and Safety Authority had taken up the issue.
Dan Boyle, Green Party Cork South Central TD, claimed there was little confidence in the appeal procedure.
“It is little wonder that residents of Cork Harbour feel that the political and administrative systems have let them down so badly,” he said.
“The residents have already gone through a previous oral hearing with An Bord Pleanala where they won all the moral arguments but then witnessed the planning inspector’s negative report overturned by An Bord Pleanala itself, on the spurious grounds that planning must always be granted if it is government policy.”
The EPA cleared the way for the south-east plant and a facility near Duleek in Co Meath after planning permission was secured in October. The proposed decision will allow incineration with energy recovery of both hazardous and non-hazardous waste at the plant.
The Ringaskiddy burner, costing €75m initially, will handle 100,000 tonnes of hazardous waste a year. It could be operational by 2007 and is likely to employ some 50 people.
The scheme has met with significant opposition from politicians and residents’ groups who mounted major protest campaigns against the plans, on health and environmental grounds.
Locals are up in arms over the threat a major flood could pose to the incinerator. The proposed site was swamped by several feet of water after storms battered the south coast in late October.
Heritage authority An Taisce said they would raise water-logging at the site with the EPA.
The agency was also concerned that the EPA proposed a municipal and hazardous waste burner when planners only ruled on a hazardous waste facility.
Following today’s hearing, a report and recommendation will be submitted to the EPA Board and a final decision on whether or not to grant a licence will be made.
CHASE objected to the burner on several grounds including health, public safety, a question mark over the integrity of oral hearings and a lack of trust in the incinerator company.
The group have also claimed a second incinerator could sneak in the back door.
A number of other groups will make presentations
to the hearing, including Cork Environmental Alliance, An Taisce,
Ringaskiddy Residents’ Association, and other local groups opposing
Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment