AN ORAL hearing by An Bord Pleanála into plans by Indaver Ireland for a €150 million twin incinerator in Ringaskiddy opened yesterday with Ireland South MEP Kathy Sinnott and Green Party Senator Dan Boyle both expressing their opposition to the proposal.
Indaver Ireland has applied under the Planning and Development (Strategic Infrastructure) Act 2006 for a hazardous industrial waste incinerator and a municipal waste incinerator, each capable of taking 100,000 tonnes a year, at the 12-hectare Ringaskiddy site.
According to Indaver’s planning application, the plant will incorporate a four-storey process building, an 85m flue stack, a turbine hall, an aerocondenser structure, a sampling laboratory and a transfer station and other units at the site.
Yesterday, Ms Sinnott said that locating the incinerator in the Cork harbour area was contrary to EU maritime policy, which envisages developing sustainable prosperous harbours that integrate fishing, transport, and other water-based activities.
Cork County Council has formulated a Cork harbour development plan and the EU has designated parts of the harbour as special areas of conservation, while there are also proposals to have the entire harbour area declared a Unesco world heritage site.
Ms Sinnott pointed out that Ringaskiddy is home to the National Maritime College, which has the potential to create a thriving sustainable economy in the harbour area through becoming a leading international maritime university.
“The National Maritime College recognises this and has plans to expand with 500 jobs just for a start. Will this happen? It can, it should and it will if we work hard, and we don’t put an absolute enormous, obsolete, dangerous rubbish burner plonk in the middle of the harbour.”
Mr Boyle argued that incineration had been a preferred waste management option by government at the time of the last oral hearing into the proposal in 2003 but that had now changed.
He said the Department of the Environment had made submissions to An Bord Pleanála opposing the proposal, while he said this change had been acknowledged by the board in its inspector’s report on an incinerator planned for Ringsend in Dublin.
Mr Boyle also noted the decision by An Bord Pleanála to refuse permission for another incinerator at Rathcoole in Co Dublin, as well as its refusal to grant planning permission to the port of Cork for a large-scale development in Ringaskiddy.
This proposal was rejected by An Bord Pleanála’s inspector in his report primarily because of the inadequacy of the infrastructure serving Ringaskiddy. That infrastructural deficit was unlikely to be addressed in the near future, said Mr Boyle.
He said the logic of all these changes was that the opposition to the Indaver plan mounted by both individuals and groups since May 2000 should be reflected, not only by inspector Öznur Yücel-Finn in her report, but also by the ultimate decision of the board of An Bord Pleanála.
Yesterday’s hearing heard from Dr Michael Gillen of PharmaChemical Ireland, on behalf of Indaver Ireland, who argued that the cost of shipping waste abroad was adding to the operating costs of the pharmaceutical industry.
Dr Gillen said the lack of an integrated waste infrastructure was deterring new investment in Ireland, while Ireland’s main competitors for foreign direct investment – Singapore, Puerto Rico and Switzerland – all had integrated waste management plans.
Dr Gillen said PharmaChemical Ireland had no policy as to where a waste-to-energy plant or incinerator should be located.
The hearing continues.