Friday 22 August 2008

Nobber incinerator hearing postponed

AN BORD Pleanála has confirmed that it has postponed the oral hearing due to take place next week into a proposed biomass incinerator at Nobber in Co Meath. Earlier this week the inspector chairing the hearing had said it would go ahead as planned.

The decision to defer it has been welcomed by opponents of the development, particularly as the board referred to a point made by them to the inspector about insufficient time having been allowed to other councils and individuals to prepare their submissions. The two-week oral hearing was due to start next Tuesday to hear objections to plans by rendering company College Proteins to build an eight megawatt biomass incinerator and ash landfill at its existing plant in Nobber.

The company says that two megawatts would be used for its own operations and “the balance will be exported to the country’s national electricity grid. That represents the electricity demand of about 4,000 homes.”

At the preliminary hearing on Monday last, local councillor Eugene Cassidy said the planning board had written to seven neighbouring local authorities advising them they could make submissions. However, this was done two weeks ago and because no council meetings are held in August he said that no submissions could be ratified until next month.

The group asked for the inspector to adjourn the hearing to allow this and other points to be addressed and when she ruled it would go ahead, North East Against Incineration (NEAI) said it would seek legal advice on securing a High Court injunction against the planning board.

Yesterday morning the group received a letter from the board saying they had postponed the hearing to allow neighbouring authorities to make submissions or observations on the application.

The other county councils were given copies of the application last month and NEAI expects they will be given 10 weeks to make their observations. Its spokesman Christy Reilly said they welcomed the decision by the board. “It confirms we had valid points to make. We feel it is a small victory for us but we have a long way to go yet.”

The Irish Times

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