Irish Examiner - 25-02-05
NO medical experts were hired by the company proposing to build Ireland’s first toxic waste incinerator, it emerged yesterday.
Indaver Ireland’s managing director John Ahern said that while the company did not hire any medical experts they did rely on the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Commission, who both state that public health will not be damaged by incineration if they operate within emission limits.
Mr Ahern told the ninth day of the oral hearing on the toxic waste incinerator that Indaver Ireland had hired three barristers to handle the application.
Asked by the objectors’ solicitor, Joe Noonan, where the company’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) states how many people will be harmed if there is a serious accident at the Ringaskiddy site, Mr Ahern replied: “I don’t know, I have not read the EIS during the break.”
The Indaver Ireland managing director said they had hired the best experts to compile their EIS and they told him it was adequate.
Mr Noonan said that central to the legality of the process was the adequacy of the company’s EIS in addressing how many people would be harmed in the event of an accident, health risks, coastal erosion, flooding and noise levels.
The WHO states that a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) should be carried out on proposed toxic waste incinerator plants. Mr Ahern said there is no legal requirement on Indaver Ireland to carry out a HIA, but the company would have no problem in having one carried out.
Mr Noonan said the WHO guidelines state that sites prone to flooding should not be chosen for incinerators. But Mr Ahern said the WHO also states that incinerators can be built near flooding areas if there is an engineering solution to the problem and there is one in Ringaskiddy.
Mr Ahern also rejected the claim that coastal erosion would be a problem, saying the company was unlikely to invest €100m in a site that was likely to fall into the sea.
Another objector, Feargal Duff, told the oral hearing that the UNEP Chemicals office states that the major source of dioxins in the US and Europe is incineration.
Mr Duff said the UN were unlikely to put out a document that incinerators are a major source of dioxins if it is not true. Mr Ahern said he would have to examine the UN report.
Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment