€40m clean-up plan for our largest toxic dump
A €40m clean-up campaign for Ireland's largest toxic waste dump will begin next summer.
Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney insisted that the selected programme will be based upon what is best for Haulbowline in Cork harbour, not what is most cost-effective.
His vow came as An Bord Pleanala held an oral hearing into plans to transform Ireland's largest toxic waste site at the former Irish Steel/Irish Ispat plant into a public amenity and water-based tourism attraction.
The Government and Cork Co Council are now accelerating the clean-up programme in a bid to avoid multi-million-euro EU fines after repeated warnings from Brussels that the site had to be tackled.
The former Haulbowline Island site in Cork harbour contains an estimated 500,000 tonnes of toxic waste.
The EU deadline for a clean-up at the island is late 2014.
Mr Coveney said the Government was determined to tackle the issue of Haulbowline's toxic waste once and for all.
"We have applied to the Environmental Protection Agency for a licence to operate that site," he said. "We have already applied for planning permission . . . we will put all the science and research in place before the application is made for what we regard as the optimum environmental solution for making that site safe."