Site chosen by Indaver for Ringaskiddy incinerator ‘ bad one’

None of company’s incinerators in Belgium, the Netherlands or Germany are in comparable locations, planning hearing is told

An artist’s impression of the proposed waste-to-energy facility which Indaver is seeking to build at Ringaskiddy in Cork Harbour.

An artist’s impression of the proposed waste-to-energy facility which Indaver is seeking to build at Ringaskiddy in Cork Harbour.

 

None of Indaver’s incinerators in Belgium, the Netherlands or Germany are located in places comparable to Ringaskiddy in Co Cork where it plans to build a €160 million municipal and hazardous waste incinerator, a planning hearing into the project has heard.

Retired mechanical engineer, Bob McLaughlin, from Monkstown, said he examined Indaver’s incinerators on the European mainland and found they were adjacent to rail and motorway links in highly industrialised areas in contrast to Ringaskiddy, which was a coastal village.

“None of Indaver’s incinerators that I examined were located in a village with a school, none were located near a college such as the National Maritime College of Ireland, and none were located beside a naval base like Haulbowline - none are located in a simple village like Ringaskiddy,” he said.

Even Indaver’s Irish incinerator at Carranstown, Co Meath, was different in that it was adjacent to a long-standing cement works and was not near any village with schools and colleges and a large working and resident population, he added.

Mr McLaughlin told the seventh day of the An Bord Pleanála hearing that incineration is not an efficient way to produce energy nor is it the solution to either climate change or waste management and, as it stands, there is significant incineration overcapacity throughout Europe.

Germany has over two million tonnes of excess incineration capacity, the United Kingdom has some seven million tonnes of excess capacity, while Denmark has four times its incineration needs and has taken to importing waste from London to keep its incinerators operational,said Mr McLaughlin.

“The site chosen by Indaver for this incinerator in 1999/2000 was a bad one, probably based upon price and proximity to the toxic mess that was Irish Steel in Haulbowline.... you should not locate an incinerator of this type and scale on a very small site at a dead-end cul-de sac,” he said.

Earlier, Cork South Central Sinn Féin TD, Donnchadh O Laoghaire questioned whether the proposed incinerator would meet the criteria required to be considered an energy recovery facility. He noted that others, including Cork County Council, had expressed similar reservations.

Mr O Laoghaire said although he questioned the sustainability of the proposed incinerator generally, he was particularly dubious about its ability to meet domestic and EU sustainable waste policies if it failed to meet the requirements for energy recovery.

Indaver would argue it supports the “closing the loop” whereby “the value of products, materials and resources is maintained in the economy for as long as possible”, thereby minimising waste and turning Europe into a recycling society but Mr O Laoghaire questioned this.

“To simplify my argument - it is now EU policy that waste is seen as an asset, to be reused so far as possible. If this facility is not producing adequate energy, then quite simply it is wasting waste and therefore not sustainable,” he said

The trend in many countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and Belgium is now away from incineration for this reason, he said, adding New Zealand, which is comparable in size to Ireland, has no incineration and a relatively sustainable waste policy, he said.

Retired veterinary surgeon John Masson questioned the validity of a traffic study presented on behalf of Indaver by Niall Harte in which Mr Harte said that the impact of the incinerator on traffic volumes in the area would be just 2 per cent.