Wednesday 23 July 2008

Leading trainer says €200m incinerator will harm thoroughbreds

A CHAMPION racehorse trainer has said he is confident a planning application by a US company to build an incinerator will be rejected.

Ted Walsh, who trained English Grand National winner Papillion, has said the incinerator "makes no sense whatsoever". Energy Answers International (EAI) is seeking permission to build the €200m waste facility in an old quarry off the N7 at Rathcoole, Co Dublin.

If it goes ahead, it will handle 365,000 tonnes of waste annually. But Mr Walsh has expressed serious concern for the welfare of racehorses in Co Kildare if the plans go ahead. "Horses are very susceptible to all things. Punchestown and Naas racecourses are just up the road. We have Goffs and there are 25 stud farms within seven or eight miles of the site -- it would definitely make life very difficult for us."

Mr Walsh is hopeful that An Bord Pleanala will consider the objections of the equine industry to the massive incinerator. "I think An Bord Pleanala do things pretty well and they have to hear every application as part of due course." Labour TD Emmet Stagg has lodged an objection with the planning board against the incinerator.

In his objection he highlighted how the former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern told the Dail that the overall requirement nationally for incineration was in the order of 400,000 tonne per annum in the next seven years and that "in the eastern region at present capacity was double that with 800,000 tonnes provided for in Carnstown in Co Meath and at Poolbeg".

Mr Stagg also said the scale of the furnace would lead to "substantial emissions" close to residents living nearby. "These toxic emissions will pose an unacceptable risk to people and there is no safe threshold for carcinogenic emissions."

He outlined other concerns on increased traffic and of the impact an incinerator would have on the equine industry in Co Kildare.

"There are eight stud farms and horse training facilities in Co Kildare within 5km of the proposed incinerator.

The incinerator would seriously damage the environment of these facilities and would be incompatible development, similar to the recent proposal at Coolmore."

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