Cork incinerator firm supported waste export, councillor says

Indaver argued trade was necessary as recently as 2013, Marcia D’Alton tells hearing

Indaver, the company behind the plan to build a €160 million waste incinerator in Cork Harbour to cut down on the State's waste export, argued waste export was necessary as recently as three years ago, an oral hearing into the project has heard.

Environmental consultant and member of Cork County Council Cllr Marcia D'Alton told the An Bord Pleanála hearing that as recently as 2013 Indaver acknowledged the need for the State to continue to export waste for disposal in continental Europe.

The councillor told the hearing in the Carrigaline Court Hotel that in its submission for the Regional Waste Management Plans in December 2013 the company argued for the retention of waste export as part of the State’s waste management strategy.

"It is in the national interest that export trade does continue. This is because the continuation of the export route acts as [a] form of safety valve that precludes the increase of [local, regional or national] prices within Ireland to inefficient/excessive levels to the detriment of consumers.

“In other words, the export route is likely to assist in ensuring that national waste management prices remain competitive . . . for these reasons we believe that the future availability of export trade is . . . in the interests of the consumers of waste service,” said Indaver in its submission.

The councillor said Indaver Ireland MD John Ahern was frequently quoted as saying that the State could not continue to export its waste, even though it seemed as if Indaver itself recognised the need for waste export to continue if waste management prices were not to become excessive.

However, she said the State’s whole approach to waste management and the issues of self-sufficiency and the proximity principle rarely looked beyond the issue of residual waste.

Visual impact

The councillor also took Cork County Council to task for failing to properly address the visual impact that the proposed incinerator in Ringaskiddy would have on the vista from the planned tourist attraction at Spike Island, which the council is developing in Cork Harbour.

"I find it shameful and embarrassing that a government minister, Minister Simon Coveney, has to give evidence at this hearing in support of the tourism landmark that Spike Island is becoming. This should be the role of Cork County Council," she said.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times