Proposed Cork incinerator site ‘can be protected from sea’

Indaver Ireland lodges new planning application for waste facility in Cork Harbour

An artist’s impression of the proposed waste-to-energy facility

An artist’s impression of the proposed waste-to-energy facility


The site for a proposed €160 million twin incinerator site in Cork Harbour is less likely to be subject to coastal erosion because it is not exposed to the open sea, according to the waste management company behind the plans.

The company, Indaver Ireland, will on Tuesday lodge a planning application for the project with An Bord Pleanála.

According to Indaver, a study it commissioned has found that the 12 hectare site at Ringaskiddy is suitable for the development, which will incorporate a 40,000 tonne hazardous waste incinerator and a 200,000 tonne municipal waste incinerator.

An Bord Pleanála refused the planning permission for a twin incinerator in 2011 on four grounds including that it failed to address concerns over coastal erosion at the site and the risk of road flooding on the L2545 access road to the site.

Campaigners against the project, Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment (Chase), said last week that Storm Frank had highlighted again the unsuitability of the site, with the storm leading to further erosion at Gobby Beach which borders the site.

Chase chairperson Mary O’Leary said that it would be “absolutely ludicrous to consider building a waste incinerator on a crumbling coastline” and she pointed out that the storm highlighted the risk of flooding on the roadway serving the site.

Coastal erosion

But Indaver Ireland managing director John Ahern said the company had hired engineering consultants, Arup, to examine the issue of coastal erosion and the resulting study showed erosion was not a major problem.

“Arup undertook a range of wave-modelling studies, and consulted over 20 sets of data, including both recent topographical surveys and historical mapping from as far back as 1841, to develop an understanding of the rate of coastal retreat,” he said.

Mr Ahern pointed out the coastal boundary of the site is situated to the west of Cork Harbour where it lies in a sheltered location of a larger bay. As it is located relatively far away from the harbour entrance, it is not directly exposed to the waves in the open sea, he said.

The Arup study noted that the 150m stretch of coast bordering the Indaver site is sheltered by rock outcrops and is convex in shape, all of which makes it less likely to erode than coastline facing the open sea, said Mr Ahern.

“As with any coastal boundary, erosion does occur (but) rather than being gradual or incremental, it tends to take the form of landslips or slumps of already collapsed material during stormy periods of heavy rain, such as Storm Frank,” he said

Arup found that within 30 years of building the proposed facility, coastal erosion will not encroach upon the development boundary, the proposed waste-to-energy process building, or the L2545 road adjacent to the site, he said.

“Arup recommends monitoring the coastline on a regular basis and placing sacrificial material in the form of shingle above the foreshore line on the beach to help slow the natural erosion rate,” he said, adding that the new planning application includes such protective measures.