Opponents of a proposed €150 million twin incinerator development for Ringaskiddy in Cork Harbour have welcomed the decision by An Bord Pleanála following an oral hearing to refuse planning permission for part of the project dealing with municipal waste.
Indaver Ireland said that it remained confident of progressing the project after Bord Pleanála indicated that it was considering granting permission for both a hazardous waste incinerator and a transfer station if certain concerns were addressed.
Bord Pleanála said that Indaver should make amendments to its Environmental Impact Statement to address concerns over flooding, coastal erosion and revised emissions if it wished to obtain planning for the hazardous waste incinerator and transfer station.
Indaver Ireland had applied under the Planning and Development (Strategic Infrastructure) Act 2006 for a 100,000 tonne hazardous industrial waste incinerator, a 140,000 tonne municipal waste incinerator and a transfer station at the 12 hectare Ringaskiddy site.
Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment chairwoman Mary O'Leary welcomed the news and paid tribute to Cork County Council for opposing such a facility.
"It's good news for the commmunity and huge credit is due to Cork County Council for defending their waste management plans so thoroughly," said Ms O'Leary.
However, she called on Bord Pleanála to clarify its position on the proposed hazardous waste plant.
"The Bord states that the EIS is 'deficient' in regard to flooding of the public road, coastal erosion and their impacts, and therefore we are adamant that this should have been turned down outright, rather than giving developers a second bite of the cherry."
Ms O'Leary pointed out that recent flood management guidelines issued by Department of the Environment recommend that developments on sites subject to flooding should be avoided rather than engineered around and An Bord Pleanála should respect this.
A spokesman for Indaver Ireland said that the company had been informed by Bord Pleanála that it is considering granting planning for both the transfer station and the hazardous waste incinerator subject to receipt of additional information within three months.
"We will now proceed to meet this request .... Indaver is pleased to have progressed our application to this point. We are approaching completion of two aspects of our proposal and are confident that the specifics requested by the Bord can be satisfied," he said.
Regarding the municipal waste incinerator, An Bord Pleanála had ruled that planning was not appropriate "at this time, having regard to both layout and lmiited size of the site and current strategy of the Cork local authorities in respect of waste management,"he said.
Asked about the financial viability of the hazardous waste incinerator without a municipal waste incinerator, the Indaver spokesman said the preference remained to build both units but that the company was pleased with the progress it had made to date.
Green Party Senator Dan Boyle said the decision to refuse permission for the municipal waste incinerator undermined the economic viability of the hazardous waste incinerator and he called for a further public inquiry to address the question of flooding risk at the site.