Cork incinerator plan criticised by Simon Coveney

Minister says proposal would be contrary to Government plans for Cork Harbour

 Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney has criticised Indaver’s plan to build a €160 million incinerator at Ringaskiddy in Co Cork. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney has criticised Indaver’s plan to build a €160 million incinerator at Ringaskiddy in Co Cork. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

Indaver’s plan to build a €160 million incinerator at Ringaskiddy in Co Cork would be completely contrary to Government plans to develop Cork Harbour as a centre for tourism, education and renewable energy projects, Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney has said.

Mr Coveney made the comments during the fifth day of an An Bord Pleanála hearing into Indaver’s plan to build a municipal and hazardous waste incinerator at Ringaskiddy.

Mr Coveney said the Government had spent or was committed to spending €100 million in the area on projects that were incompatible with the incinerator.

“The proposed development will adversely impact on and compromise the Government-supported projects at Haulbowline to convert the East Tip into an amenity area, as well as the development of a proposed tourist attraction at Spike Island,” said Mr Coveney.

“It will also impact and prejudice the viability of the Irish Maritime and Energy Resource Centre (IMERC) in Ringaskiddy, which has become a zone for education, research, innovation and clean technology, with some 48 companies currently working in the newly opened Beaufort Laboratory.

“The Beaufort Centre is a national research facility which is going to be part of a campus of real significance that is going to employ 4,000 people in the years ahead,” said Mr Coveney,

Mr Coveney said all of these projects had come on stream in the five years since 2011, when Indaver last applied for planning permission for the project and failed in its application.

“It cannot be consistent with good planning or existing planning guidelines relating to incineration to permit the construction of a 240,000-tonne waste-to-energy facility in the immediate vicinity of the most progressive cluster of projects that Cork Harbour has seen in decades.”

Private investment

The Government investment in Cork Harbour was designed to trigger private investment in marine-related projects in the area, but locating an incinerator nearby would undermine Ringaskiddy’s capacity to attract such funding, he said.

Mr Coveney also dismissed suggestions there was support at Government level for locating the incinerator in Ringaskiddy.

He said a letter sent to Cork County Council by Minister of State at the Department of the Environment Paudie Coffey was not an endorsement of Ringaskiddy as a suitable site.

Mr Coffey had written to the council to advise it that it was obliged to bring its policy on waste management in line with national policy by including incineration, he said.

Mr Coveney said he was not making any judgment on incineration or on Indaver as a company, but was simply pointing out the unsuitability of the Ringaskiddy site, which is very confined and not appropriate for the project.