A legal challenge over the granting of planning permission for a €160 million incinerator at Ringaskiddy in Cork Harbour has opened at the High Court.
Mr Justice David Barniville heard that planning permission was granted last May but a planning inspector with An Bord Pleanála had recommended that it be refused.
Maurice Collins SC, for a group opposing the incinerator, said there has been “a continuum of planning activity and controversy” connected to the site at Cork Harbour.
Counsel said the inspector had recommended refusal of planning permission but An Bord Pleanala granted the permission by a five to two majority.
“We know very little of how it reached a decision in this case,” he said.
A large proportion of the local population is opposed to the incinerator and believe it would pose a significant health threat to the community, he said.
Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment has brought the challenge and wants an order quashing the planning permission. It is also seeking an order quashing the environmental impact assessment (EIA) carried out by the board and seeks a declaration that An Bord Pleanála erred in law and had no jurisdiction to grant planning permission.
The group is also seeking a declaration that the board erred in law by allegedly failing to carry out any or any legally adequate EIA or appropriate assessment prior to the decision to grant development consent. It further alleges that there was a failure to carry out an assessment of the impact on health and an alleged failure to carry out any adequate EIA in respect of the fundamental issue of site selection.
The board granted planning permission under the Planning and Development (Strategic Infrastructure) Act 2006 to Indaver Ireland for the incinerator at a 13.5 hectare site at the end of the Ringaskiddy Peninsula. The incinerator will have an operational life of 30 years.
The permission was granted with a number of conditions, including that the eight storey facility, with a 70m chimney, would take no more than 240,000 tonnes of municipal waste and no more than 24,000 tonnes of hazardous waste each year.
Indaver Ireland Ltd and Indaver NV trading as Indaver Ireland are notice parties to the High Court proceedings.
The case continues.