A SLUDGE treatment company which plans a €10 million upgrade to enable it to process hazardous waste faces a considerable challenge as An Bord Pleanála has questioned the validity of the planning application.
Last June Cork County Council granted planning to Eras Eco Ltd to extend its facilities at Foxhole, Youghal, to permit the processing of 95,000 tonnes of waste annually, including 30,000 tonnes of hazardous material.
Youghal Chamber of Commerce has appealed the decision to An Bord Pleanála, while the company has yet to apply to the Environmental Protection Agency for an operating licence.
However, the board is inviting submissions from relevant parties up to September 13, amid concerns that the planning application may qualify as a strategic infrastructure development and be beyond the remit of regular planning criteria. The chamber’s appeal is on hold until the status of the original application is decided.
The plans remain the focus of strong resentment in Youghal, with almost 300 objectors attending a meeting at the GAA pavilion.
Eras Eco workers distributed bro-chures on the plant’s existing and intended facilities before the meeting.
The co-founder of Blackwater Estuary Action Group, Michelle Ryan-Hennessy, told the meeting that in 2009 there were over 40 breaches of emission limits in the Blackwater, including ammonia, sulphates and suspended solids.
Guest speaker Natasha Harty of the Cork Harbour Alliance For A Safe Environment advocated a "multi-pronged" resistance campaign. Several people questioned the wisdom of importing waste into a tourist town and to a site near a playground, a business park and a river.
Others called on Youghal Town Council, as site landlords, to meet with Eras Eco. Details were also given of how to register submissions if Eras Eco applies for an operating licence.
"If the community rejects this, it cannot be imposed," said one speaker.