High Court allows legal challenge to incinerator
The High Court has granted leave to the Ringaskiddy and District Residents' Association Limited and several local people to bring a judicial review challenge to the proposed development of the State's first toxic-waste incinerator at Ringaskiddy, Co Cork. The action is against An Bord Pleanála and the State and arises from the board's decision on January 15th, 2004, granting permission to Indaver NV, trading as Indaver Ireland, for construction of the development.
The residents are seeking to have the decision reversed on a number of grounds, including that it breaches an EU directive.
Yesterday, Mr Michael Collins SC, for the residents, said more than 20,000 people were opposing the €75 million development, which is intended to handle up to 100,000 tonnes of hazardous and non-hazardous industrial and commercial waste annually.
Mr Justice Quirke, in granting leave, said there appeared to be "substantial grounds" for the bringing of the proceedings, and put the matter back for mention in four weeks. The application for leave was not opposed by Indaver, which has previously indicated it wants a speedy determination of the matter.
Outlining the grounds on which the challenge was being brought, Mr Collins said the environmental impact statement submitted by Indaver was legally inadequate, and no environmental impact assessment had been carried out as required by the relevant EU directive.
His clients were also seeking a declaration that An Bord Pleanála erred in law by relying on the advice of the National Authority for Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) where that advice was incomplete, inaccurate and based on incorrect assumptions.
The board, he submitted, did not consider or consider adequately the potential impact on human health arising from the location of the site.
The residents argue An Bord Pleanála could not reasonably have concluded that the site was an appropriate location for the proposed development.
While there were no national guidelines for the siting of hazardous waste facilities such as the proposed development or incinerators generally, there were internationally accepted guidelines, such as those issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO), and it was not reasonable for the board to either disregard such internationally accepted guidelines or to fail to apply them, it is argued.
Mr Collins said the developer did not involve the public in any meaningful way in the site selection process as the public consultation process was engaged in after the site had been chosen.
The board also ignored or attributed insufficient weight to the presence of Cobh, with its sizeable residential population, two kilometres away.
Among other points counsel submitted was that the NAOSH was not aware of the existence of a high-pressure natural gas main within the site when carrying out its assessment, and was not aware of how deeply the gas main was buried.
© The Irish Times
Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment