Wednesday 5 September 2007

Superdump plan gets oral hearing

A CONTROVERSIAL €20 million superdump on the Cork/Limerick border is earmarked for a Bord Pleanála oral hearing.

The planning appeals board has advised the country’s largest private waste operator, Greenstar, that an oral hearing is scheduled between November and next January.

The company — which had a €200m turnover last year — wants to create the landfill at Ballyguyroe, near Kildorrery, to service its entire Munster operation. Its plans were twice turned down by Cork County Council and Bord Pleanála, although the company was granted a licence to operate the Ballyguyroe landfill by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Greenstar chief executive Steve Cowman welcomed the move by An Bord Pleanála to hold a hearing.

“We identified a need for a landfill in Cork. We were turned down because, at the time, the argument against us was that there wasn’t a need as the county council was developing a site at Bottlehill. But that won’t be open for a long time,” Mr Cowman said.

He said that, at present, the council was operating a landfill site in Youghal, but it didn’t have the capacity for Greenstar’s needs.

The company wants to dispose of up to 140,000 tonnes of waste per annum at the Ballyguyroe site, which is surrounded by forestry.

“Due to the shortage of adequate landfill facilities in Cork, we have to take waste from there to places like Dublin and Kildare.

“Transporting waste that far away is expensive and it also leaves a carbon footprint,” the Greenstar chief executive said.

People living in communities near the Ballyguyroe site, which include villages such as Shanballymore, Kildorrery and Ardpatrick, have vowed to fight the project.

Cork County Council had, however, operated a large landfill site in the Ballyguyroe area up until a few years ago but was forced to close following concerted efforts by locals.

Those efforts culminated in a High Court victory for locals in 2001, which forced the council to close the facility.

People in the area said they were plagued by smells and swarms of flies in the summer. They also stated that narrow roads in the area were unsuitable for the large number of refuse trucks using the site.

Mr Cowman acknowledged that people had a fear of landfills in their areas, but insisted Greenstar would run a clean operation if the company obtained planning permission.

“None of our landfills had EPA non-compliance notices last year, whereas there were a number of local authority-run sites which had,” Mr Cowman said.

The company’s proposed facility, he said, would include lining pits and all waste buried in them would be pre-treated.

Irish Examiner

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