Wednesday 22 November 2006

Planning board appointment 'worrying'

An engineering consultant who advised Dublin City Council on its plans for the incinerator at Poolbeg has been appointed to An Bord Pleanala.

The proposed incinerator, which would burn 600,000 tonnes of waste annually, is being considered by An Bord Pleanala and is likely to be the subject of an oral hearing next year.

Minister for the Environment Dick Roche yesterday appointed Conall Boland, a director with RPS Ireland, to the planning board.

RPS advised the council in relation to the incinerator and the procurement of the contractor for the project. Mr Boland was also involved in preparing the waste strategy for Dublin.

His appointment to the planning board represents a "serious conflict of interest", Green Party chairman John Gormley said last night. "The fact that the Minister would, at this stage, appoint somebody connected with the project to the board is deeply worrying. Even more worrying is the fact that Mr Boland seems to have been responsible for the most recent review of the Dublin regional waste management plan," he said.

Mr Gormley said he did not question Mr Boland's competence, but said the Minister had put Mr Boland in a "very uncomfortable position".

In a statement the Department of the Environment said it was confident that "appropriate measures would be taken were there a perceived conflict of interest for any director".

The chairman of An Bord Pleanála carefully applies a code of conduct for directors and arranges the distribution of the business of the board among its members, the department said, and the Minster was very happy to have Mr Boland as a member of the board.

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