Renewed EPA office call
Duleek has become the 'national dumping and burning capital of Ireland' and it's time for key environmental concerns to be addressed.
That's the view of the Duleek and District Environmental Group who say the granting of permission for Irish Cement to increase the level of alternative fuels to be used in their kiln should focus greater attention on the region.
'A lot of important environmental issues raised with the board during the oral hearing, seem at first glance, to have been ignored, and they may now have to be taken up again with the EPA during licence application time,' they state.
'Things like a bypass of Duleek, Regional EPA Office in the area, proper screening and management of waste types been accepted, and of course independent monitoring stations installed to help regulate and control are needed,' they added.
'In real time, all of these potentially nasty toxic emissions are coming into our environment from these industrial plants, in an area that now seems to have become the national dumping and burning capital of Ireland.'
The 600,000 tons of alternative fuels approved include the likes of tyres, hospital waste and meat and bonemeal.
'This will bring, when you add in what the Indaver incinerator burns annually, to almost one million tons of waste been shipped, transported and burnt here in this health challenged area each year. Given the population growth within all of the surrounding areas, including, Donore, Duleek, Bellewstown, East Coast, Kentstown, and of course Drogheda, where most of these dangerous air emissions will end up, there can be no doubt this will be a major health challenge for the entire surrounding communities going forward, a community that has already been blighted by high rates of various types of terminal cancers, many involving children,' they added.
'Our groups would also like to thank all of those who participated in this appeal, and who helped in any way, including local Cllrs, TDs, Ministers, etc, especially those who turned up at the oral hearing to give personal statements.'
They also note there has been a community fund recommendation included of €1 per ton on the extra tonnage per year, and while this may help alleviate some of the issues concerned, they feel much more awareness of any issues needs to be enshrined in the local projects.
'The company now has to seek a licence from the EPA, and we will engage fully in that process and argue strongly for the inclusion of all the independent monitoring / regulation systems we as a community feel we now urgently need. Environmental groups will now take some time to read and study the report in detail, and fully consider all options going forward. We will not give up,' they state.