Friday, 20 April 2007

More than 2,500 formal objections to incinerator

MORE than 2,500 formal objections to plans by the four local authorities in Dublin to build a large incinerator on a site in Poolbeg at the mouth of the River Liffey have been lodged.

An oral hearing by An Bord Pleanála (ABP), which began in Dublin yesterday, heard that the incinerator was opposed by the elected members of Dublin City Council, despite being promoted by the management of the local authority.

ABP inspector Padraig Thornton said the planning authority had received 165 separate submissions on proposals to build an incinerator at Poolbeg.

An additional 2,591 observations have also been made by individuals, environmental groups, residents associations, State bodies and other parties. The vast majority of observations contained objections to the proposed incinerator.

The Dublin Port Company and two other parties specifically opposed a compulsory purchase order placed on the site of the incinerator by Dublin City Council. The planning inspector said it had appeared on a preliminary reading of all the files that only two parties had come out in support of the incinerator.

Among the various grounds for opposing planning permission for the project are claims that it runs contrary to both EU and national policies on waste management and nature conservation as well as the Dublin City Development Plan. Opponents of the incinerator claim that it poses a threat to public health because of the increased risk of air, water and noise pollution and possible soil contamination. The location of the proposed incinerator on the Poolbeg peninsula near the ESB Pigeon House power plant could also be subject to flooding.

They also argue the transport of large quantities of waste to the incinerator will result in additional traffic problems on an already congested road network in the Ringsend area.

Other complaints relate to the inadequacy of the related Environmental Impact Statement submitted with the planning application for the incinerator.

Many objectors also argued that the site selection process was flawed and out of date. In addition, they claim the incinerator will also damage visual, recreational and residential amenities in the area.

However, representatives of Dublin City Council told the hearing that the incinerator, which they prefer to call “a waste to energy project”, was the right solution for Dublin. The local authority believes the facility which will be located on a 15.4-acre site in Poolbeg can handle up to 600,000 tonnes of household and non-hazardous industrial waste each year. It is estimated that 25% of the city’s refuse will be sent for incineration.

Much of yesterday’s proceedings were dominated by procedural wrangling as various opponents claimed they were being placed at an unfair disadvantage because of the lack of information on the project being provided by Dublin City Council.

A total of 29 witnesses will give evidence on behalf of Dublin City Council over the next few days. TDs and councillors for the area, including Tánaiste Michael McDowell are expected to be called next week.

Irish Examiner

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