Tuesday 30 May 2017

Residents win -- for now -- but may face revised plan

Paul Melia

Paul Melia

WHAT happened yesterday?

An Bord Pleanala refused permission to Indaver Ireland to build a €150m hazardous waste incinerator in Cork. Local residents, who fought against the plant for almost a decade, welcomed the decision, saying it was the "final nail in the coffin".

What was proposed?

Indaver wanted to build a 100,000-tonne capacity plant at Ringaskiddy in Cork, which would treat the State's hazardous waste. It would be on a 12-hectare site and produce enough electricity to power 15,000 homes.

Why was it needed?

Industry produces almost 290,000 tonnes of hazardous waste a year. Almost half of this is exported to the UK, Germany, Belgium and Denmark for processing, at great cost.

Why was it refused?

Four reasons -- Cork County Council didn't want it, the site was too small, there was a flooding risk, and there was a risk of coastal erosion. Information provided by Indaver to address these issues wasn't deemed sufficient to grant permission.

Could other incinerators process this waste?

There are small plants, generally attached to industrial facilities, that treat some of the waste, but there isn't enough capacity to deal with the problem. Indaver has an incinerator opening in Meath later this year, but it can't process hazardous waste. Nor can the planned Poolbeg incinerator in Dublin.

Who pays the costs?

Indaver has been left with a hefty bill of almost €500,000, and has to pay opposition groups almost €60,000. It also has to pay €382,000 to meet expenses and costs incurred. This is on top of the money spent planning and designing the incinerator.

So who are the winners and losers?

Local residents are the winners here. Indaver loses, for now, but says while "disappointed" it is "not discouraged", suggesting it might come back with a revised plan. The group representing pharmaceutical and chemical plants says that unless a facility is built to treat its waste, it will be difficult to attract jobs here.

What happens now?

Indaver could appeal the decision of An Bord Pleanala, but only on a point of law. The EU says waste must be treated near where it's produced, meaning it may call on the Government to set out what it plans to do next. Pending a new application, it's business as usual.

Irish Independent

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