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Questions and Answers

What is proposed for Ringaskiddy?
Where is the site located?
Is Ringaskiddy a suitable site for this incinerator?
What waste will be burnt?
Where will the waste come from?
Waste goes in, but what comes out?
Are these by-products dangerous?
What are the effects of dioxin on human health?
Does the EU set down guidelines for waste management?
What are the alternatives?
How will the incinerator affect food producers?

What is proposed for Ringaskiddy?
Phase 1: A mixed hazardous and industrial non-hazardous waste management facility (fluidised bed incinerator) with a capacity of 100,000 tonnes. The main process building will be 35m (115ft) high and the associated stack will be 55m (180ft) high.

Phase 2: A 100,000 tonnes facility for non-hazardous commercial and household waste, subject to a separate planning application.

Click here to take a virtual tour of an incinerator.

Where is the site located?
The site of the proposed incinerator is at the end of a cul-de-sac on the Western shore of Cork Harbour. Click here for map.

More specifically, it is located:

  • Within 5 mins. walk of Ringaskiddy village.
  • In the Ringaskiddy Industrial Area (thousands of employees).
  • Next to Ireland's new National Maritime College (800+ people), only 20 metres separating their boundary walls.
  • About 1/2 km from the Naval Base on Hawlbowline island (1000 personnel).
  • About 2 km from Cobh and Great Island (15,000 people).
  • Between 3 and 5 km from Monkstown/Passage west (9000 people).
  • About 5 km from Carrigaline/Crosshaven (15,000 people).
  • Less than 10 km from Midleton and other East Cork towns.
  • About 12 km from Cork city (123,000 people)
  • Currabinny, Shanbally, Rochestown, Aghada, and Whitegate are also close by.

Emissions from the incinerator will carry to all these populations, depending on the wind direction. Southerly winds will carry emissions in the direction of Cobh, Midleton, Cork city and the Lee Basin. South-east, East and North east winds will carry emissions over Carrigaline. Crosshaven and Currabinny will be in line when the wind is from the East or North East. The Midleton area and the eastern side of Cork Harbour are exposed when the wind is blowing from the SouthWest, NorthWest and West.

Is Ringaskiddy a suitable site for this incinerator?
No! According to WHO guidelines, to Cork County Council, and to An Bord Pleanála’s own senior planning inspector. Click here for more information.

What waste will be burnt?

Click here for a partial list.

Where will the waste come from?
Good Question! The proposed incinerator has a capacity for hazardous waste incineration in the range 80,000 – 126,000 tonnes. But the facility is intended only for “hazardous waste that is currently exported for incineration”.

Nationally, about 48,000 tonnes of hazardous waste fits into this category (EPA report) – this indicates 40-62% overcapacity. And the target in our National Hazardous Waste Management Plan is to reduce the quantity of hazardous waste for disposal to1996 levels (about 27,000 tonnes) – this indicates 66-79% overcapacity.

So where will the waste come from? There are only three possibilities: we increase our generation of hazardous waste, the incinerator accepts non-hazardous waste (mainly produced outside County Cork), or we import hazardous waste from other countries.

Waste goes in, but what comes out?
Incineration does not destroy waste – it merely converts it to other forms, all of which contain pollutants that are harmful to our health. That is why they are regulated.

  • Stack gases: Include dioxins, PCBs, and heavy metals (lead, arsenic, cadmium, etc.). All of these are persistent (degrade very slowly), bioaccumulative (build up in living organisms over time), and toxic.
  • Dust particles: Much of this is ultrafine. This means that it is easily inhaled and can reach the deepest part of our lungs, where it can do the most damage.
  • Ash: Much of this is hazardous and must be disposed of to a hazardous waste landfill. The proximity principle dictates that this landfill must be close to the source of the ash, so not only do we get a hazardous waste incinerator but also a hazardous waste landfill.

Are these by-products dangerous?
Yes. Click here for more information.

What are the effects of dioxin on human health?
Short-term exposure to high levels of dioxins may result in skin and altered liver function. Long-term exposure is linked to impairment of the immune system, the developing nervous system, the endocrine system and reproductive functions. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) categorises dioxin as a “known human carcinogen" (Click here for the full report).
Foetuses are most sensitive to dioxin exposure. Newborns may also be more vulnerable to certain effects. (WHO Fact Sheet)

Does the EU set down guidelines for waste management?

Yes. The four key principles are:

  • Prevention principle - limit waste production at the source.This is the top priority in the Waste Hierarchy on which EU and Ireland’s waste management strategies are based.
  • Polluter pays principle - cost of dealing with waste to be met by the waste producer.
  • Precautionary principle – One definition goes as follows: “When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically. In this context the proponent of an activity, rather than the public, should bear the burden of the proof. “
  • Proximity principle - waste should be dealt with as close as possible to its source. Click here to see how this applies to the Ringaskiddy incinerator.

What are the alternatives?
Many and varied! Click here for further information and here for more again.

How will the incinerator affect food producers?
Click here for information


Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment
Bishop's Road, Cobh, Co. Cork
Tel - 021 481 5564      Email -
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