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Irish Times - 02-03-05
Medical evidence cited by objectors
Barry Roche

Medical evidence submitted at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hearing into the proposed incineration plant at Ringaskiddy, Co Cork, can clearly only lead the EPA to refuse to grant Indaver Ireland a licence for the plant, it was claimed yesterday.

Solicitor Joe Noonan, for Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment, told the closing day of the hearing that the alliance had presented medical evidence which provided the EPA with grounds for not granting Indaver Ireland a full waste licence for the proposed plant.

Mr Noonan said that it was clear from the evidence of both Irish epidemiologist Dr Anthony Staines and Dutch medical expert Dr Gavin Ten Tusscher that the operation of the site at Ringaskiddy would release harmful pollutants into the environment of Cork harbour.

He said it was also clear from their evidence that it would be wise to assess the extent of the harm that those pollutants would cause to people before deciding to grant a licence, but no such assessment has been carried out.

"The only proper conclusion to draw from these facts is that the EPA cannot grant a licence," said Mr Noonan, adding that, under the Waste Management Act 1996-2003, the definition of environmental pollution includes damage to people's health.

Given that the only medical evidence brought before the EPA hearing highlighted the dangers to public health from emissions from the proposed plant, the EPA has no power to grant a licence, argued Mr Noonan.

He noted that Indaver Ireland's failure to give any explanation to the EPA why it should weaken its draft licence conditions for a waste incineration facility at Ringaskiddy was "unprecedented", as it remained completely silent on the issue during the 12-day hearing.

He pointed out a contradiction in Indaver's environmental impact statements (EIS) for both hazardous waste and municipal waste incinerators at Ringaskiddy and its plan for a municipal waste incinerator at Carranstown in Co Meath.

"The applicant justifies the Ringaskiddy site on the grounds that it is on hilly terrain and in an industrial-zoned area. This is in sharp contrast to the claims made by the same applicant in relation to its intended incineration plant at Carranstown, Co Meath.

"In its EIS for that plant, which the agency has, the applicant claims that the Carranstown site is suitable because it is on level terrain in an agriculturally zoned area," he said.

© The Irish Times


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