Saturday, 22 December 2007

EPA to decide quickly if it will hold Poolbeg hearing

A new oral hearing into the Poolbeg incinerator could be conducted next year by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) following the receipt of objections to its proposal to grant a licence for the facility.

The EPA said yesterday it would decide "as soon as possible" in the New Year whether to accede to requests for the hearing.

The incinerator, which would be Dublin's first municipal waste incinerator and one of the largest in Europe, was granted planning permission by An Bord Pleanála in November following a lengthy oral hearing this year.

Within days of the Bord Pleanála decision, the EPA announced its intention to grant a waste licence to Dublin City Council to operate the facility. A 28-day period of statutory public consultation on the proposal ensued. The consultation phase is now at an end, and the EPA has received 14 valid objections and eight requests for an oral hearing.

Had no objections or requests for a hearing been received, the board of the EPA would have automatically made a final decision at the end of the consultation period. However, it will now consider the possibility of a hearing.

"The closing date for submissions was just this week, and no decision on the requests for an oral hearing has been made yet, but that decision will be made in the New Year as early as possible," a spokeswoman said.

Objections to the licence were made by several politicians, local residents' groups and individuals.

Minister for the Environment John Gormley, before his appointment as Minister, made an objection to the potential granting of a licence in a letter dated October 5th, 2006.

Combined Residents Against Incineration, Sandymount and Merrion Residents' Association and the Ringsend Irishtown and Sandymount Environmental Group also made objections.

The Irish Times

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