CAMPAIGNERS AGAINST a €160 million twin incinerator project in Cork harbour have expressed surprise at comments by waste management company Indaver that it still believes it is possible to proceed with the project after An Bord Pleanála refused it planning permission.
Cork Harbour for a Safe Environment (Chase) welcomed the board’s decision to refuse planning permission to Indaver for both a municipal waste and hazardous waste incinerator on a 12-hectare site at Ringaskiddy.
The board refused planning on four grounds including incompatibility with Cork County Council’s waste management policy, overdevelopment of the site, inadequate mitigation measures to reduce the risk of flooding of the road serving the site and the risk of coastal erosion at the site.
Indaver managing director John Ahern said while he was disappointed he was not discouraged by the refusal.
Mr Ahern said he still believed it was possible to address the issues through redesign of the project and engineering solutions to improve mitigation measures to reduce risk of flooding and erosion.
However, Linda Fitzpatrick of Chase said it believed Indaver would have no option but to abandon the project given it believed that three of the grounds for refusal were specific to the site and the risks involved in locating the project there.
“They can’t change the fact that the coastal erosion is a risk, they can’t change the fact that the road is subject to flood or the fact that their development is too big for this particular site – they can’t change any of those reasons for refusing the planning application.”
The group’s solicitor, Joe Noonan, said that lessons needed to be learned from the case as the board’s four grounds for refusing planning were among those cited by its own senior inspector, Philip Jones, when he recommended refusal in 2004 after an oral hearing.
“This was the wrong site for this project – the board should have listened to inspector Jones then instead of ignoring his report and imposing another seven years of hardship, worry and expense on the Cork Harbour communities,” Mr Noonan said.