Friday 27 March 2009

Oral hearing set for planned €54m Cork incinerators

AN oral hearing is to be held by An Bord Pleanála next month into the controversial €54m incinerators planned for Cork Harbour.

It will be the second oral hearing into the planned incineration scheme at Ringaskiddy with local residents, opposed to the development, faced with forking out about e80,000.

The first An Bord Pleanála hearing took place in 2003. However, the board disregarded the recommendations of their senior inspector and, instead, granted planning permission to developers, Indaver.

Cork Harbour for a Safe Environment (CHASE), in the meantime, sought a judicial review of the decision. By the time the court action was finished, the initial planning had expired.

This time, however, Indaver lodged planning permission with the board under the Strategic Infrastructure Act. Amendments to the planning act were aimed at fast-tracking vital national infrastructure and sidestepping local authorities.

It is reported An Bord Pleanála received 284 submissions in relation to the proposed new incinerators. The hearing will take place from April 27.

The Department of the Environment is among the objectors, on the grounds of potential risks to human, plant and animal life.

Objections were also received from the IFA, the Irish Midwives Association, Cobh Doctors Association, East Cork Tourism, local primary and secondary schools and their boards of management.

CHASE spokeswoman Linda Fitzpatrick yesterday said the new hearing will cost the local community e80,000 to outline their case as they will have to bring in experts from all over the world. However, locals are delighted, she said, that health issues will be discussed, this time, unlike the previous hearing.

"We’re glad that we can state our case again but the financial cost is quite high. Last time, the inspector was not allowed to hear, and had to ignore, any health-based evidence. New EU planning rules means that these issues will be under the microscope," she said.

A spokeswoman for Indaver said the company was looking forward to dealing with arguments raised in submissions at the oral hearing. "We have always placed a high value on engaging with the people of the localities in which we operate. ... We are confident that the facts, not hearsay, will determine the merits of the proposal," she said.

Irish Times

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