Tuesday 16 October 2018

Decision to be made on Platin plan

Hubert Murphy

An Bord Pleanala is expected to make a decision in the coming months in relation to Irish Cement's bid to burn up to 600,000 tonnes of mixed waste as an alternative fuel at their plant in Platin.

A two day public hearing in City North last week heard all sides air their comments on the plan.

Brian Gilmore from Irish Cement said the project seeks to reduce the existing fossil fuel use at the Platin Works by increasing the quantity and range of alternative fuels used in both cement kilns in Platin, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by up to 300,000 tonnes per year.

'The current permission to use 120,000 tonnes per annum of alternative fuels in Platin has already improved the competitiveness of the factory and allowed Irish Cement to secure overseas customers for its cement. Accessing overseas markets has allowed Platin Works to secure the current 140 direct employees, as well as support the wide range of local service industries required to operate the factory on a year-round basis.

'This level of activity allows for ongoing investment in employment, training, maintenance and the efficient operation of the factory,' he stated.

He said the proposed development is 'essential' to ensure the long-term viability of the Platin Cement Works.

Already this year they have had to increase fossil fuel use so that the cement factory can meet the demand for cement and stay within their 120,00 tonnes limits of alternative fuels.

The Platin team spent much of Tuesday outlining the need for the increase in burning and the method used.

They have clearly stated that Platin is a kiln facility, not an incinerator, and any waste goes back into the production process.

A number of political figures also spoke, addressing the concerns of residents, the environment and the future road network in the Duleek area.

The Duleek and District Environmental Group outlined their views following the hearing, remarking, 'the biggest problem we had with it was the fact that we couldn't challenge or cross question any of the so called witnesses produced by Irish Cement, they took up all of the first day entirely, with no cross examination allowed at any time,

Which makes it very difficult for everybody, especially those involved within the group who had work and family commitments to contend with.

'We had our opportunity to present our side of the arguments on the second day and did so. Our team worked well together and raised many important points for the inspector to consider going forward, most centring around better independent monitoring, regulation and controls, reduced tonnage involved, reduced licence permit, bypass of Duleek to be prioritised and completed prior to any further developments, and many issues around types of fuels involved.'

Issues around possible dangers to food production and various schools and sports facilities were also included, with calls for a regional EPA Office to be established in Duleek area also echoed again..

Drogheda Independent