Played key role in twice defeating a proposed hazardous waste incinerator in Cork Harbour
In 2003, a private waste company with its head office in Dublin, applied for planning permission to build what was described as the national hazardous waste incinerator in Cork Harbour. With a capacity of 100,000 tonnes per year, it was to have been sited right in the centre of the Harbour on the site directly opposite the bridge to Haulbowline Island and right across from Spike Island. The plan was to add a second non-hazardous incinerator for general municipal waste in due course. Cork County Council refused permission for the development.
The private waste company appealed Cork County Council’s decision to An Bord Pleanala. It was then that I became involved in supporting the local community’s fight to oppose the incinerator’s construction. This culminated in 3 weeks attendance at an oral hearing to hear and give evidence in front of an inspector of the Board.
An Bord Pleanala ruled in favour of granting permission for the construction of the hazardous waste incinerator, despite massive recommendations on the part of its inspector for not granting permission.
The waste company then applied to the Environmental Protection Agency for a waste licence to operate two incinerators, the first being the hazardous one for which the Board had granted permission and the second being the non-hazardous one for which planning permission had not yet been sought. Again, I represented the Town Council and the community in both making submissions and giving and hearing evidence every day for 3 weeks on the environmental aspects of the proposed waste facility, this time in front of an EPA inspector. On this occasion the community did not have an expert in air emissions, so I focused on dissecting the consultants’ air emissions study.
Again, the EPA inspector decided to grant waste licences for the two incinerators.
The Strategic Infrastructure Act was passed in 2006. This meant that projects deemed as being of national importance could apply directly to An Bord Pleanala for permission for construction, rather than to go through the traditional route of the local authorities. The private waste company applied for planning permission to An Bord Pleanala again, this time for two incinerators. The first was a larger version of the already permitted “national” hazardous waste incinerator and the second was the non-hazardous municipal incinerator for which a waste licence had been granted by the EPA. This time, the community came against the waste company in a 4 week oral hearing.
Taking the advice of its inspector, this time the Board refused planning permission for the incinerator development. It cited unsuitability of the site and access road as its reasons for refusal.
There was never any doubt in my mind but that the site in question was totally unsuitable for the proposed incinerator development. I cannot begin to describe the volume of work that went into opposing the construction of this development. It left an indelible mark on the lives of all those who were involved. I am, however, confident that had its construction proceeded, it would have destroyed the potential for Cork Harbour to become the successful tourism resource that it is currently shaping up to be.
I am including the evidence I delivered to all three of the oral hearings and the various submissions to the planning authorities.
Incinerator planning application 2003
Waste Licence Application 2005
Incinerator planning application 2009
Public Presentation Monkstown 2009
Submission to planning application
Evidence 1 – presentation
Evidence 1 to oral hearing
Evidence 2 – presentation
Evidence 2 to oral hearing
Evidence 3 – presentation
Evidence 3 to oral hearing
Request for time extension
Response to further information