Oral hearing on incinerator only way to solve 'stalemate'

 

REOPENING AN oral hearing by An Bord Pleanála into a planned €160 million twin incinerator project for Cork is the only way an existing “stalemate” over waste disposal in the area can be resolved, according to a senior executive with the firm behind the project.

Indaver Ireland commercial director Jackie Keaney said Indaver had reluctantly opted to seek judicial review of An Bord Pleanála’s decision of June 2011 to refuse planning permission for its twin incinerators at Ringaskiddy, but it felt it had no other option.

Indaver, she said, believed the board made its decision without taking account of crucial new information regarding Cork County Council’s waste strategy that came to light 12 months prior to the board making its final decision.

“That new information was that Cork County Council was exiting the waste market, that its MBT facility was terminated and that the council’s landfill site at Bottlehill would not proceed, and it was all signalled as far back as July 2010,” she said, adding Indaver was anxious this information was available to the board and twice wrote to it, but still does not know whether the information was provided to the board’s inspector.

She told the 2011 National Waste Management Summit in Dublin one of the board’s key reasons for refusal was the Cork region was providing its own local waste infrastructure, as it stated at the oral hearing in 2009, but this had changed by 2011.

Indaver is before the High Court seeking a judicial review of the board’s decision, and if this is granted and the hearing is reopened Indaver will accept the board’s ultimate decision once the full facts are considered, she said.

“Even if the outcome is not in our favour, we will walk away from this application – there will be no more court battles.” Reopening the hearing would be the most equitable means of resolving what she called “an unpalatable stalemate,” she said.

A spokeswoman for the Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment (Chase), which opposed the project, said Indaver was ignoring the fact the waste-management strategy was just one of four grounds on which the board refused planning.

The board also cited the site’s small size, inadequate road flood risk mitigation and inadequate coastal erosion mitigation as grounds for refusal, and said Indaver did not address these.

The spokeswoman added: “Indaver Ireland calling on An Bord Pleanála to reopen its oral hearing shows Indaver’s total disregard for proper planning.”