Indaver to lodge fresh planning application for Cork incinerator

 

CAMPAIGNERS AGAINST a proposed €160 million incinerator project in Cork harbour have accused the firm behind the project of treating the local community with contempt after it indicated that it plans to submit a new planning application for the project.

Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment (Chase) have challenged waste management company Indaver to honour what they say was a commitment to abandon its Ringaskiddy project once the current planning application process had been exhausted.

Indaver confirmed at the weekend it was not proceeding with a planned judicial review, scheduled for hearing tomorrow in the High Court, of a decision by An Bord Pleanála to refuse planning permission in 2010 for hazardous waste and municipal waste incinerators.

However, in its statement the firm said it intended “ in due course to make a fresh application for planning to An Bord Pleanála” and that it remained convinced of the region’s need for an incinerator.

Chase has accused Indaver of reneging on a commitment given by commercial director Jackie Keaney, at the National Waste Summit in November 2011, that the company would walk away from the application if An Bord Pleanála reopened its hearing and found against them.

In her address, Ms Keaney said it was inconceivable An Bord Pleanála would not have been aware of Cork County Council’s decision not to proceed with its landfill facility at Bottlehill when it refused planning in 2010 and cited council waste management policy as one of its reasons.

“Did the board have all the facts when it made its decision? Indaver cannot answer this question. That is why, with no other option available to us, we sought to judicially review the decision,” said Ms Keaney, adding that it was the only mechanism available to challenge the board’s ruling.

“Reopening the oral hearing offers all the parties the opportunity to put all information before the board for its ultimate and final decision. It provides what we have always sought – a fair hearing on the merits of our proposals.

“If the hearing is reopened, Indaver will accept the board’s ultimate decision. Even if the outcome is not in our favour, we will walk away from this application. There will be no more court battles. This application will end.”

Chase legal adviser Joe Noonan said either Indaver was being less than forthright when Ms Keaney made her comments in 2011 or the company was being less than frank now when it said it intended to proceed with a fresh planning application for Ringaskiddy.

“Anyone reading Jackie Keaney’s address in 2011 would interpret that as meaning that Indaver would walk away from the project when the planning process was exhausted – there can be no other interpretation . . .” he said. “But instead of abiding by what Jackie Keaney said – they are now saying that they intend to lodge a new application, which smacks of hypocrisy and really shows contempt for An Bord Pleanála and the entire planning process, as well as the local community.”

An Indaver spokesman rejected Mr Noonan’s comments and said Indaver had been consistent throughout in its position. He said what it had pledged related to what would happen if An Bord Pleanála reopened its hearing and found against the company.

“We said we would walk away from the application if the oral hearing reopened and An Bord Pleanála found against us, but the oral hearing did not reopen – we asked An Bord Pleanála to do that in 2010 and they refused, so they never got the chance to consider the updated position,” the spokesman said. “An Bord Pleanála chose not to accept our offer of reopening the hearing and therefore we are free to lodge a new application in due course.”