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Cork incinerator objectors slam ruling
September 23, 2003
Objectors to a proposed toxic waste incinerator in Cork have criticised a ruling by the chairman of an An Bord Pleanála oral hearing disallowing an examination of the health and environmental impact of the project.
Senior Planning Inspector Philip Jones told the hearing that following an overnight ruling of An Bord Pleanála, submissions surrounding the risk of environmental pollution, including its effect on human health, would not be discussed.
Mr Jones said the appeals board was restricted under legislation, such as the Waste Management Act, to dealing with matters solely related to planning concerns and would be proceeding on that basis.
The announcement was met with anger by objectors to the project, some of whose submissions dealt solely with environmental issues.
Solicitor for Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment, Joe Noonan, said the ruling was an absolute denial of a community's fundamental concerns.
The hearing resumed this morning with submissions by nine witnesses on behalf of Indaver Ireland, which proposes developing the €90 million toxic waste incinerator at a site in Ringaskiddy, Co Cork.
Indaver General Manager John Ahern told the hearing that the proposed Ringaskiddy facility would provide infrastructure of strategic and national importance and would lessen the vulnerability of Irish industry to the decisions of other EU Governments.
He cited the proximity principle as the driving force behind the choice of Ringaskiddy as a suitable location for the proposed facility, given that 60% of Ireland's hazardous waste is created in Cork.
Mr Ahern said the current practice of exporting hazardous waste from Ireland to Britain and the Continent must be addressed, given that the practice is, he said, 'frowned upon' in Europe.
He added that Ireland is at the mercy of the goodwill of other countries to accept its waste, leaving Ireland in a very vulnerable position.
The appeals board also heard that objections on traffic grounds were not valid, as the development would see an estimated increase of 2% in traffic at peak periods.
Similar submissions were made regarding the transport of hazardous material to the facility, which Indaver said would be subject to very stringent regulations.
Project Manager Laura Burke said the Health and Safety Authority had no objection to the proposed development, which took into account the proximity of the National Maritime College and the village of Ringaskiddy.
The hearing will resume tomorrow morning and is expected to continue into next week.
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