Ringaskiddy incinerator could lead to ‘no fly zone’

Proximity to paths of Haulbowline Naval Base and Spike Island matter for concern

The site for the proposed incinerator at Ringaskiddy. Photograph: Mark Kelleher

The site for the proposed incinerator at Ringaskiddy. Photograph: Mark Kelleher

 

A proposed multi-million euro incinerator in Ringaskiddy, Co Cork could cause serious problems for the Defence Forces who may have to impose a no fly zone around the facility arising out of safety concerns.

Comdt David Browne, squadron commander of the Helicopter Wing at Baldonnel, told an oral hearing in Carrigaline yesterday that the proximity of the stack of waste at energy facility to the approach paths of Haulbowline Naval Base and Spike Island was a matter for concern.

This is due to the fact that the stack will be emitting significant amounts of exhaust gases.

Comdt Browne said an Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) report described a helicopter accidentally flying through an invisible exhaust plume in Dublin, following which the helicopter suffered an immediate engine failure and was forced to make an engine off landing, resulting in significant damage.

“The Aeronautical Information Circular warns pilots of the dangers of operating in proximity to exhaust plumes with respect to engine flame outs. They

are warned that under certain conditions the exhaust plumes may not be visible. Under calm conditions therefore, a helicopter pilot would have to assume a danger area around a chimney and up to 1,000 feet above a chimney.”

Comdt Browne said the USS FAA Safety Risk Analysis of Aircraft over flight of Industrial Exhaust Plumes Report 2006 states that hazards from plumes “take individually or cumulatively, could possibly result in the loss of the aircraft or fatal injury to the crew.”

The Defence Forces say the FAA report further recommends that flight over an exhaust plume less than 1,000 feet is to be avoided, and recommends FAA permanent flight restrictions over such plants.

Lorna Bogue of the Green Party told the hearing that the incinerator is surplus to requirements.

“Poolbeg and Carrantsown combined have the capacity to take 820,000 tonnes of waste. According to the latest available data of waste generation in Ireland there is currently around 997,000 tonnes of residual waste that needs disposal in Ireland and this incinerator will bring incineration capacity to 1,060,000 tonnes. This means that necessarily this facility will need to import waste or less waste will be recycled. Both undesirable outcomes.”

She said that on a European level, the waste hierarchy prioritises recycling above incineration for the disposal of waste.

“In Ireland however, the last Government has decided that incineration is on the same level as recycling, as evidenced by the removal of the incineration levy. I am asking that recycling be restored to its correct position on the waste

hierarchy.”

Indaver Ireland says it has designed its proposed facility to take account of other facilities located in the Ringaskiddy area. The site is located in an area designated for industrial activity and is zoned as such under the Southern Region Waste Management Plan and the Cork County Development Plan.

The company added that there are more than 450 incinerators operating safely and successfully throughout Europe, including in built up urban areas in France, Sweden and Holland.