Ruling on Cork incinerator ‘vindication’ of 20-year campaign

‘This is a brilliant day for Cork, for our public health, and for our environment,’ group says

A protest in Carrigaline in 2016 against Indaver’s  application for an incinerator in  Ringaskiddy. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

A protest in Carrigaline in 2016 against Indaver’s application for an incinerator in Ringaskiddy. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

 

The Green Party in Cork has said the High Court ruling in favour of a local environmental group over planning permission for a €160 million incinerator is “huge vindication” of a 20-year campaign.

On Friday, the court ruled that Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment (Chase) was entitled to succeed on two of its 11 grounds of challenge to a fast-track planning permission granted by An Bord Pleanála in May 2018.

“This is a brilliant day for Cork, for our public health, and for our environment. We also remember those campaigners who are no longer with us and have passed away. It is no doubt a poignant day for their friends and family,” a party spokesman said.

“This is a great decision for Cork and huge vindication of the Chase campaign, and everyone involved. We cannot lock ourselves into practices that ensure we will have to choose a defeatist technology – incineration.”

Cllr Dan Boyle of the Green Party said in 2000 he was tipped off by a news reporter about a press launch of a proposal to build two incinerators organised by the Belgian company, Indaver.

“I was opposed then. I remained opposed to several other attempts the company has made to build these incinerators. After 21 years it is time to say enough. The High Court has made the right decision.There should be no appeal from our Government against this decision.”

Chase was established in October 2001, just one month before Indaver applied to Cork County Council for planning permission for a waste management facility in Ringaskiddy, consisting of a 100,000 tonnes per annum hazardous waste incinerator, a hazardous waste storage and transfer facility and a waste recycling facility.

Chase submitted 30,000 letters from locals who objected to the project.

In May 2003, Cork County Council refused planning permission for the project.

In June of that year Indaver appealed the decision to An Bord Pleanála and in January 2004, it granted planning permission to Indaver.

Two months later residents lodged an appeal with the High Court for a judicial review of the decision. That application was refused by the High Court in February 2008.

‘Enormous cost’

In early 2010, An Bord Pleanála indicated it would refuse planning for the municipal waste incinerator but would consider granting planning for the hazardous waste incinerator. They sought further information from Indaver.

Chase said that these measures amounted to a new structure and that Indaver should submit a new planning application.

Six years later, in January 2016, Indaver made a new application for an incinerator, which would handle 240,000 tonnes of municipal waste and 24,000 tonnes of hazardous waste on an annual basis.

In May 2018, the project was granted planning permission by An Bord Pleanála before Friday’s ruling in the High Court.

Over the years, Indaver has insisted the Cork region needs a waste facility to reduce the amount of residual municipal waste being exported abroad.

However, Chase chairwoman Mary O’Leary said Friday’s ruling was “a huge community win”.

“This is an enormous day in our 20-year campaign to stop the construction of this incinerator and one that vindicates the effort and the enormous cost on the part of all involved.”

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