AN ORAL hearing by An Bord Pleanála into an application by Indaver Ireland to build a €150 million twin incinerator at Ringaskiddy in Cork harbour is due to open in Cork today.
The hearing is expected to run for a number of weeks.
The application for both a hazardous industrial waste incinerator and a municipal waste incinerator, each capable of taking 100,000 tonnes per annum, at the Ringaskiddy site was made by Indaver under the Planning and Development (Strategic Infrastructure) Act 2006.
The Indaver proposal, first mooted eight years ago, has generated much controversy in the Cork harbour area, and a number of groups have come together under the banner of Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment to oppose the plan.
Indaver Ireland had already applied in November 2001 to Cork County Council for planning permission for a 100,000 tonnes hazardous industrial waste incinerator for the Ringaskiddy site only for the council to refuse planning permission in May 2003.
Indaver Ireland appealed the council’s refusal to An Bord Pleanála and following an oral hearing in October 2003, the planning body went against the recommendation of its inspector and granted planning permission for the facility in January 2004.
Meanwhile, Indaver Ireland applied to the Environmental Protection Agency for licences for both a 100,000 tonnes hazardous industrial waste incinerator and a 100,000 tonnes municipal waste incinerator at the 12-hectare Ringaskiddy site.
Following an oral hearing in February 2005, the EPA decided in November 2005 to grant licences to Indaver Ireland for both incinerators even though Indaver had only at that stage applied for and obtained planning permission for the hazardous industrial waste incinerator.
However, that original five-year permission expired last January, and Indaver Ireland was obliged to resubmit for planning permission. This time the company availed of the strategic infrastructure legislation to make its application.
An Bord Pleanála has received 284 submissions on the Indaver proposal. These include submissions from the Department of the Environment, Cork Cork County Council and Cork City Council as well as from the surrounding communities.
The hearing is being held at Cork International Airport Hotel.