Ringaskiddy incinerator granted planning permission

Environmentalists criticise decision, saying An Bord Pleanála ignored its own inspectors

 

An Bord Pleanála has granted planning permission for a controversial €160 million municipal and hazardous waste incinerator at Ringaskkiddy in Cork Harbour despite its own inspector recommending refusal.

The Bord said this morning it had granted planning permission under the Planning and Development (Strategic Infrastructure) Act 2006 to Indaver Ireland for an incinerator at a 13.5 hectare site at the end of the Ringaskiddy Peninsula. The incinerator will have an operational life of 30 years.

Opponents of the scheme criticised the decision and said they were studying the ruling to see if there were grounds for a legal challenge.

Indaver lodged a planning application on January 13th 2016 and since then An Bord Pleanála deferred its decision nine times.

The permission was granted with a number of conditions, including that the eight storey facility, with a 70 metre chimney, would take no more than 240,000 tonnes of municipal waste and no more than 24,000 tonnes of hazardous waste each year.

The decision to grant planning for the facilty under the Planning Strategic infrastructure Act is contrary to the decicion of its own planning inspector Derek Daly, who recommended refusal for the facility, following an oral hearing lasting a number of weeks in April and May 2016.

According to An Bord Pleanála, its board did not agree with the view of its inspector that an environmental impact statement lacked “robustness or is deficient in relation to the site selection”.

It pointed out the plant will be subject to an Industrial Emissions licence from the EPA.

The board was also of the view the incinerator would not impair residential property values or impair opportunities for employment and was not incompatible with the continued development of educational campuses at the nearby National Maritime College of Ireland.

The board said it shared the opinion of its inspector that the incinerator would not pose a significant risk to human health due to the use of modern technology in the design and operatation of the facility including in relation to the cleaning of flue gases.

An Bord Pleanála also pointed out the inspector was satisfied that the proposed incinerator would not pose a risk to aircraft navigation or impair the operation of the Naval Service base at nearby Haulbowline Island.

The Naval Service had expressed concerns at the oral hearing that the incinerator might impact on helicopters accessing the Naval base but An Bord Pleanala felt that these concerns had been addressed by Indaver and found to be satisfactory by the inspector.

An Bord Pleanála also found the incinerator would be compatible with the pattern of existing development in the area including large scale industrial plants and utilities as well as the nearby Port of Cork container terminal facility.

“Waste to energy plants operate successfully in a range of urban environments and such facilities, when well designed, operated and regulated, do not unduly constrain neighbouring land uses,” said An Bord Pleanala in its decision.

“The Board considered that the development of a modern waste to energy facility would be compatible with continued development of the education campus facilities in the area and with the ongoing improvement of tourism and amenities in the lower harbour.”