Closing statement to An Bord Pleanála oral hearing into proposed Ringaskiddy incinerator, 17th May 2016

A national monument is defined in Section 2 of the National Monuments Act 1930 as being a monument “the preservation of which is a matter of national importance by reason of the historical, architectural, traditional, artistic or archaeological interest attaching thereto”.

Spike Island is a national monument.


Carrowmore in County Sligo is another national monument. One of the four major passage tomb complexes in Ireland, it is regarded by archaeologists as the largest and possibly one of the oldest megalithic sites in Western Europe. But in 1983, Sligo County Council proposed to locate a landfill site on a quarry about 100 metres on the other side of the road from one part of the Carrowmore complex containing six tombs. Five local residents contested the Council’s decision, first in the High Court and then in the Supreme Court.


In 1989, when ruling against Sligo County Council, Mr. Justice McCarthy referred to the 1979 review of the Sligo County Development Plan which referred to the preservation of caves, sites, features and other objects of archaeological, geological and historical interest. Justice McCarthy said that the Development Plan recognised that amenities offered by Carrowmore were of the kind with views, prospects and features of natural beauty or interest and that the Plan listed 32 items for preservation or protection, including the Carrowmore Passage Grave Cemetery.


The Carrowmore judgement was exciting in that it was the first to recognise the concept of an architectural landscape, extending the legal protection of a national monument to include the surrounding area.



Tests for determining curtilage have since been recommended by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government in its Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines for Planning Authorities:

  • Is or was there a functional connection between the two structures?
  • Was there a historical relationship between the main structure and the structure within the curtilage (even if that relationship may no longer be obvious)?
  • Are the structures in the same ownership or were they previously, maybe at the time of construction?


In the context of these three questions, there is no doubt but that the Martello Tower at Ringaskiddy is indeed within the curtilage of the national monument that is Spike Island. The two structures were built concurrently by the same owner, worked in tandem to the same end and for ease of access, a path connected the two.


Ideally, the curtilage of a structure would be defined before inclusion of that structure in the Record of Protected Structures. In the case of the Cork County Development Plan 2014, curtilage has not been defined. But the Plan contains a specific aim towards protection of the curtilage and attendant grounds of all structures included in the Record of Protected Structures. We are fortunate in Cork that both Fort Westmoreland on Spike Island and the Martello Tower at Ringaskiddy are both listed. We are unfortunate that whilst their individual value has been specifically recognised, the co-dependent relationship intrinsic to their function has not.


In his considerations on Carrowmore, Justice McCarthy described the Sligo County Development Plan as a statement of objectives which, when adopted, forms an environmental contract between the planning authority, the Council and the community, embodying a promise by the Council that it will regulate private development in a manner consistent with the objectives stated in the plan.


During the course of this oral hearing, we have heard much of the multi-faceted resource that is Cork Harbour and indeed the diversity of the harbour’s role is clearly reflected in the Cork County Development Plan 2014. The essence of all the Plan’s aims for the harbour relating to port, industry, tourism, recreation and more are perhaps best encapsulated by Objective EE 6-1:

To implement sustainable measures which support and enhance the economic and employment generating potential of Cork Harbour in a manner that is compatible with other Harbour activities as well as with the nature conservation values of the Cork Harbour Special Protection Area and the Great Island Channel Special Area of Conservation.”

Little more needs to be said. Everything in balance.


In my evidence to this oral hearing, I emphasised how the Indaver site, situated as it is on one of the key headlands in the very epicentre of all that is happening in Cork Harbour, encapsulates that balance. Several commitments of the County Development Plan relate in a fundamental way to that location. Perhaps that which is key is the Cork County Council’s Draft Landscape Strategy, not mentioned once in its contributions to this oral hearing by either Cork County Council or Indaver.


Landscapes are an essential component of people’s surroundings, an expression of the diversity of our shared cultural and natural heritage and a foundation of our identity. And in that description, the European Landscape Convention critically links the importance of landscape to both people and culture. Maintenance of the landscape of the Ringaskiddy headland is the lynchpin of the hopes and visions for Cork Harbour that so many have described to this oral hearing. It is central to the attractiveness of our harbour for tourism. It is essential to the international value that is our built heritage. Fundamental to the essence of that built heritage is the relationship between Fort Westmoreland, Fort Carlisle, Fort Camden, the Haulbowline Island Martello Tower and the Ringaskiddy Martello Tower.


These five structures together constitute the primary elements of the Lower Harbour’s defences. In its 2009 National Policy on Town Defences, the government has recognised how town defences should be considered a single national monument and treated as a unit for policy and management purposes. It advises that there should be a presumption in favour of preservation of their character, amenity and setting. Works which could impact on town defences in any way must be notified to the Minister who will require the preservation of important views and prospects inside and outside the walls so as to preserve the setting of the monuments and to increase appreciation of their heritage and value.


What is the difference between town defences and maritime defences? None that I can identify, other than that networks of maritime defences are so rare they eluded the drafting of national policy.


It will be my undying aim, as long as I am elected as a councillor, to work towards getting national monument status for the collective military defences of Cork Harbour such that we may realistically espouse that which has been achieved by Parks Canada for the five Kingston Harbour fortifications. But in the meantime, Spike Island is indeed a designated national monument which, according to Section 14(1) of the National Monuments (Amendment) Act 2004, it is not lawful to “demolish, remove wholly, disfigure, deface, alter or in any manner injure or interfere with”. Third parties to this hearing, in whose names the Masterplan for Spike Island has been democratically approved, believe that to construct the proposed incinerator on the proposed site would be to disfigure, deface, alter, injure and interfere with the national monument that is Spike Island, by virtue of its proximity, height and bulk. We believe that Indaver’s proposal constitutes construction within the curtilage of Spike Island as defined by its intrinsic functional relationship with the Ringaskiddy Martello Tower. Furthermore, we believe that by impeding the line of sight between Spike Island and the Martello Tower as is proposed, the incinerator would fundamentally damage the inherent purpose of the national monument and the special relationship that exists between it and the adjacent Martello Tower.


To be fair, I would not expect Indaver to stand up for these values. They are a commercial company trying to wreak the best value out of the mistake that was the purchase of this site. But Cork County Council, by not standing up for the balance of activities planned for in the County Development Plan, for its own designation of Cork Harbour as a high value and sensitive landscape of national importance and for the Masterplans for both Spike and Haulbowline Islands which it commissioned, Cork County Council has reneged profoundly on that environmental contract between the Council and community described so eloquently and accurately by Justice McCarthy. Indeed, in the more recent High Court judgement declaring the 1916 buildings of Moore Street a national monument, Justice Max Barrett described how the great historical and public interest arising in relation to developments at or by this national monument was weighing heavily in the courts considerations. I assure you, Mr. Inspector, no less is the historical and public interest arising in relation to developments at or by the national monument that is Spike Island.


The National Monuments (Amendment) Act 20014 allows a national monument to be interfered with, injured or destroyed by a development which the Minister deems to be in the public interest. Indaver claims its proposed incinerator is indeed one such project. We have demonstrated very much otherwise during this oral hearing.


Something that is in the public interest must be essential. But this incinerator is not essential. In my evidence, I illustrated how the most recent National Hazardous Waste Management Plan indicates there to be insufficient residual hazardous waste currently exported for disposal by incineration (D10) to fill the 24,000 tonnes proposed capacity for such material at Indaver’s Ringaskiddy facility.


Indaver claims the proposed facility meets national policy for residual municipal solid waste and that, in doing so, it responds to the needs of the Southern Region Waste Management Plan. But the reality is that the need identified by the Southern Region Waste Management Plan has already been responded to by cement kilns increasingly welcoming of a replacement for fossil fuels. In fact, approval for this incinerator would, by providing overcapacity, be entirely contrary to national policy. In this regard, I respectfully draw your attention to the Board’s pre-application meeting of 27 May 2015 with the Southern Region Waste Management Office during which the latter emphasised how the Southern Region Waste Management Plan discourages overcapacity of waste treatment facilities and how, if permission were to be granted to multiple waste facilities, it would result in a surplus of capacity for thermal recovery and would therefore jeopardise the recycling targets of the Waste Management Plan.


To suggest that this facility is essential suggests that it could not be sited somewhere else. That there are – or at least will be – alternatives which could potentially far better perform a similar function has become clear over the course of this hearing. Currently proposals are being advanced for a 48 MW gasification plant coupled with a sorting and materials recovery facility on the former Gortadroma landfill in County Limerick. Currently under consideration by the Board is PC0174, a proposed 300,000 tonne per annum pyrolysis plant for Bottlehill, again an existing landfill site. Neither policy nor sustainable waste management supports the development of all these thermal treatment facilities. If thermal treatment of waste is to be considered in a national context as recommended by the regional waste plans, surely it flies in the face of the Board’s remit to evaluate such projects in the context of first come first served. Neither the market nor commercial greed is a reliable driver of proper planning and sustainable development.


Indaver disputes this. It claims Ringaskiddy is the right place because of Cork Harbour’s pharmaceutical hub. It will be proximate to the centre of generation of hazardous waste. Yet for the second oral hearing in a row, Indaver cannot present figures to support that claim. Using publicly available data, I have illustrated in cross examination of Ms Patterson that Cork Harbour industries are so developed that they produce merely 16% of all hazardous waste exported nationally for disposal by incineration (D10). Furthermore, of the hazardous waste types suitable for treatment in a moving grate, merely 15% of the proposed 24,000 tonne capacity is produced in Cork Harbour and currently exported for incineration both with and without energy recovery (R1 and D10). So the centre of pharmaceutical excellence that is Cork Harbour industry may indeed be producing hazardous waste but it has a focus on self-sufficiency, solvent recovery and general good materials management. Such strides towards industrial sustainability do not deserve to be rewarded with a contract incinerator next door.


I have also demonstrated that of the proposed 10,000 tonne per annum capacity for non-hazardous industrial waste, just 1.4% or 143 tonnes is listed as being either disposed of or exported by the Cork Harbour industries.   And whilst Cork is indeed Ireland’s second largest city, the majority of household and commercial waste collected is delivered to transfer stations on the north side of Cork City. Mr. Ahern anticipates that should planning permission be granted for the proposed facility, waste trucks would travel directly to Ringaskiddy. Whilst this might be the case for residual or black bag waste in the short term, it most certainly would not be the case for skip waste or for dry recyclables. Both would continue to need to be sorted to meet national recycling targets and trucks carrying the rejects from both streams would add to existing congestion at the Jack Lynch Tunnel on their way for burning at Ringaskiddy.


The unsuitability of having black bag waste travelling in close proximity through the villages of Shanbally and Ringaskiddy has not been addressed at all, either in the EIS or at this oral hearing. Although Indaver predicts the demand for incineration of municipal and industrial sludge to increase, close contact of this potentially odorous waste with daily life in Shanbally and Ringaskiddy has not been mentioned. But the incongruity of having black bag waste and sludge delivered at a rate of up to 11 trucks per hour to a growing university campus of international repute is marked. There is little escaping the basic fact: this site is unsuitable. In fact, this site is so unsuitable that it fails virtually all of the World Health Organisation’s exclusionary criteria for locating a hazardous waste facility. Indaver has spent 16 years trying to make it fit, attempting to engineer around its inadequacies. Yes, Cork Harbour may be prone to thermal inversions but the air dispersion model takes that into account and predicts no significant impact. Yes, it is closer than it should be to stationary populations but modelling for all parameters associated with both normal and abnormal operations have shown no significant impact. Yes, Cork Harbour may have an acknowledged concentration of industrial development, people may have been chased from their homes and their farms to accommodate it, the national cancer registry may show high incidence of disease but there is no possibility of inequity. Meaningful application of these exclusionary criteria from the outset would have had Cork Harbour ruled out as an appropriate location at the first pass.


You, Mr. Inspector, have most recently evidenced the engineering out of problems that third parties have endured for this 16 years with Indaver’s response to the Irish Air Corps concerns as expressed during this oral hearing. How many modelled twists and turns were taken by Indaver’s experts as they tried to smooth over the potential that Indaver’s proposed facility might restrict the fly zone in the vicinity of the naval base? Our national and only naval base indeed epitomises the definition of an essential facility.


Zoning does not constitute suitability. In fact, not one element of the guidance for siting waste management facilities listed in either the Southern Region Waste Management Plan or in the National Hazardous Waste Management Plan even mentions zoning. I hope arising from my cross examination of Mr. Coakley, Mr. Inspector, it is as clear to you as it is to me that the firmest direction of the Cork County Development Plan for waste to energy within the county is for its establishment as part of an integrated waste facility at Bottlehill.


The proposed facility even fails on the delivery of jobs that is a prerequisite for industry in Strategic Employment Areas. An offering of 62 positions, 21 of which would be transferred from Indaver’s existing office at the Kinsale Road Industrial Park was deemed not to constitute an adequate job offering in Charleville and there is no reason why desirable standards for employment from industry should differ across the county. In fact, if they differ at all, it would surely be in favour of superior employment deliver in a Strategic Employment Area.


Careful and sensitive siting a waste facility of any kind is the singularly most important mitigation measure any developer can undertake. From the moment it commissioned a site search in 1999, Indaver has failed utterly in this regard. It did not set out to look for that area which would be least detrimental environmentally and socially. Rather, it set out to look for a location where the proposed incinerator would always be less of an issue than something else. However dirty the image of incineration, it would be cleaner than Irish Ispat. However visually intrusive the building, it would be less intrusive than Ispat. However much ash it produced, it would be less than was being produced by Ispat. Whatever it emitted from the stack would be less than that emitted from every orifice of Ispat. However tall the stack, it would be smaller than the pylons. Whatever the risk of explosion, it would be only one of several Seveso industries on the Ringaskiddy peninsula. And whatever the public objection, it would always respond to the mantra of the time: “60% of Ireland’s hazardous waste is generated in Cork”.


In its attempts to get this plant established, Indaver has manipulated and ridden roughshod over every potential obstacle in its way. In 2001, it applied for planning permission for a 100,000 tpa hazardous and non-hazardous industrial waste incinerator but in 2004, before the Board had finished considering the 2001 planning application, it applied to the EPA for a Waste Licence for two incinerators, the second being for 100,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste. When refused planning permission in 2008, it took to the courts. As it withdrew its judicial review on the eve of the hearing in October 2012, Justice Nicholas Kearns said the Indaver actions in prolonging the case without intending to continue it amounted to an abuse of process. In its November 2015 pre-application meeting with the Board, two specific requests of the Board were for provision of confirmation of the availability of salt mine capacity for fly ash and demonstration of the export route to Germany. The confirmation subsequently provided in the EIS is a copy of a letter dated 2007. A less than illustrative description of up to 10 trucks per week of hazardous ash being removed from the site and taken to “a port” has been provided in Section 4.5.8 of the NIS.


At that same pre-planning meeting, the Board further requested that Indaver identify the source of the materials to be used as a sacrificial defence against coastal erosion. Despite five volumes of a planning application and this oral hearing, the Board still has only suggested indications of where the material may be drawn from. The Board requested that the environmental effects associated with its removal from source to deposition on site would be discussed. Although Ms Ascoop confirmed to me in cross-examination that these aspects of the erosion mitigation were indeed explored, the only reference I can find to the impact of dumping 1,100 m3 of imported material onto the indigenous seashore life of Gobby Beach is in Section 4.5.1 of the NIS, which states:

The proposed development site and immediately adjoining shoreline habitats which will be affected by the construction of the proposed development including the proposed beach nourishment works do not lie within any designated Natural 2000 site”.

All other discussions pertain to birds.


The coastal protection works proposed now in 2016 diametrically oppose suggestions made in 2010 for appropriate coastal protection measures. In fact, in 2016, beach nourishment is no longer called beach nourishment. Although clarified through my cross-examination of Ms Ascoop that the newly termed sacrificial material is still indeed beach nourishment, the disadvantages of beach nourishment identified in 2010 are discounted now in 2016.


In 2016, 15 years after the first planning application was lodged, we finally have ubiquitous agreement that this site is indeed subject to coastal erosion. What we have less agreement on is the rate of erosion. To reassure, Arup points to the success of the beach nourishment undertaken at Greystones, Co. Wicklow. My recounting of local experience in Greystones, coupled with extracts from the 2006 oral hearing into the Greystones development and quotations from Arup’s annual reports as to the achievements of the scheme do not provide comfort. My evidence in this regard is at the very least equally as valid as the Arup claims and I respectfully request, Mr. Inspector, that as you were unwilling yesterday to accept printed details of that local experience, you would investigate this further in an independent way in the course of your deliberations on this planning application.


All that is certain about this proposed facility is its inherent uncertainty. Section 21(A)(vii) of SI 126 of 2011, the European Communities (Waste Directive) Regulations, requires that it shall be:

a condition of any waste licence covering incineration or co-incineration with energy recovery that the recovery of energy takes place with a high level of energy efficiency”.


For this development to comply both with national policy and with the objectives of County Development Plan policy outlined in ZU 3-7, it must be a recovery facility. In other words, it must achieve R1 of 0.65 or greater. Indaver reassures that as Carranstown has achieved R1 since its first year of operation, Ringaskiddy will likewise have little difficulty.


But the reality is very far from the truth. In most countries, process and energy parameters are provided to the permitting authority annually such that they may independently validate R1 for any waste to energy plant. That is not the case in Ireland. Most countries follow the requirements of the Guidelines on the R1 Energy Efficiency Formula in Annex II of Directive 2008/98/EC provided by the European Commission in 2011 with regard to independent verification of the R1 formula prior to its presentation to the permitting authority. But despite clear process difficulties in 2012 and a fundamental shift in input wastes in 2015, there has yet been no independent verification of the R1 boasted by Carranstown.


We do not know what the impact of the European Commission’s Circular Economy requirements will be on waste streams influent to waste to energy. With source separation of biowaste, residual municipal solid waste will increase in calorific value. That will allow more flexibility with acceptance of greater volumes of sludge, should that market materialise as anticipated. With stimulus either from Europe or from national recycling aims, a levy may be reintroduced on incineration, with or without energy recovery. This would see black bags which heretofore might have headed directly to Ringaskiddy rerouting back to transfer stations on the northside for sorting. It would almost certainly reduce the attractiveness of waste to energy as a lazy way out of meeting legislative packaging targets. Such measures could have an offshoot reduction in the calorific value of the waste stream such that either the facility would not achieve the requisite R1 to satisfy national policy or the zoning objective. At that stage, a new look at the influent waste stream would be necessary, with a view to either increasing the percentage of hazardous input or to importing waste.


Importation of waste is another uncertainty. Importation has been alluded to many times by third parties at this oral hearing, but I have not once heard discussed with any certainty the importation of waste from Northern Ireland as Indaver anticipated in its March 2015 pre-planning meeting with the Board.


What is critical to the Board in its assessment of the current planning application is whether such uncertainty with regard to waste treatment is sustainable and proper waste management in the context of achieving the aims inherent to a circular economy.


What is certain, however, is that the project we see before us in a planning application today would, if granted planning permission, differ significantly from that which would be in operation in twenty years time. Indaver is a serial applier for planning. It reapplied for permission to increase the capacity of Carranstown before the plant was even built. Since it started operating in the latter half of 2011, Indaver has submitted and been granted three further planning applications such that the plant is now treating 38% more waste than when it was first commissioned, has achieved a fundamental shift from a non-hazardous feed to a co-mingled hazardous and non-hazardous feed and has significantly extended hours of waste acceptance.


Aware of this trait on the part of Indaver, the Board must ask itself whether it is satisfied that the site characteristics at Ringaskiddy allow sufficient latitude for such shifts over time without social or environmental impacts. Because if the development is deemed strategic and of national importance but the site cannot sustainably accommodate fundamental variations of this nature, then it is the wrong site.


We have already seen hints of these traits in the Ringaskiddy planning application. In November 2012, Indaver told the Board it anticipated reapplying for permission to build a single line incinerator to treat 220,000 tonnes of waste in a 70:30 hazardous:non-hazardous mix. In March 2013, it told the Board that its preference of two options was for a 220,000 tonne hazardous and non-hazardous incinerator for industrial and municipal solid waste in a moving grate incinerator with a waste transfer station. In March 2015, the aims had shifted to a 240,000 tonne per annum moving grate incinerator to treat 40,000 tonnes of hazardous waste, 100,000 tonnes of municipal waste, 50,000 tonnes of sludge and 50,000 tonnes of industrial waste each year. This development would include a transfer station to allow for pre-treatment of waste. By July 2015, Indaver told the Board it intended to remove the transfer station to, as the Board’s record describes it “simplify the planning application”. In the absence of the transfer station, it proposed to reduce the acceptance of hazardous waste to 20,000 tonnes per year. However, it pointed out to the Board that it hoped to make a separate application for the transfer station element of the project at some time in the future.


Yet Indaver has repeatedly told this oral hearing that it does not need a transfer station at Ringaskiddy nor does it intend to apply for planning permission for one.


Many third parties present have expressed a concern that should permission be granted for this proposed facility, it will rapidly follow with an application from Indaver for a hard coastal protection solution to its boulder-clay cliff problem. Mr. Noonan has already identified Indaver’s mention of discussions in this regard with the IDA to the Board. I have pointed out how hard engineering solutions were deemed to be the only answer in 2010. Our suspicions have been further compounded by Indaver’s submission to the preparation of the Cork County Development Plan, the first draft of which expressed an aim to “employ soft engineering techniques as an alternative to hard coastal defence works, wherever possible”. Indaver requested that this aim be removed and to amend the explanatory paragraph to advise that “measures for coastal protection should be carefully assessed on a case by case basis to ensure they are economically and environmentally justified”.


What is also certain is that the Board, subsequent to a screening exercise, will be required to complete an Appropriate Assessment to satisfy itself that this proposed development will have no significant impact on the Cork Harbour SPA. The NPWS has provided us with certainty that the quality of the designated habitats are seriously degraded. They cannot, however, tell us why. We are certain that without identifying the cause of that degradation, little can be done to arrest it. We are also certain that without comprehensive flue gas treatment subsequent to burning, the proposed facility would be a significant source of dangerous pollution. The NPWS has made it clear that they are relying in entirety on this element of the process for protection of the Cork Harbour SPA. But the efficacy of that flue gas treatment is to be assessed by the EPA and we are also certain that they have not been present to participate in any way in this oral hearing.


With regard to the EPA, Dr. Mary Kelly’s statement to the Joint Committee on the Environment, Heritage and Local Government on 24th February 2009 is of significant concern. Head of the EPA at the time, she said that:


The EPA has no role in determining the number of incinerators and has not been assigned responsibility for doing that. The EPA will licence them if that is a requirement and similarly with landfill and recycling and all that, but it is not responsible for the co-ordination of it”.


This begs the tremendously important question: who is responsible for it? Who will decide whether this planning application from Indaver represents the most sustainable facility in the most appropriate location? Or is the gasification plant proposed for the brownfield site at Gortadroma better? Perhaps it is the pyrolysis plant at Bottlehill. Or is it more sustainable to welcome the open arms of the cement kilns who, by their nature, are a guaranteed recovery activity. Dr. Kelly has clarified that this function is not the responsibility of the EPA. Ms King has, by submissions to this proposed development, tacitly indicated that such assessment is not the function of the Southern Region Waste Management Office. There is only one body left that can perform this critical assessment of the direction the recovery element of Irish waste management may take into the future. That is, by default, An Bord Pleanála. And should the Board decide that this level of strategic evaluation is not its function either, then Irish waste management is flapping rudderless in a hungry sea, directed only by market forces and commercial gain.

This is a dangerous place for Ireland to be.


Indaver has recognised this gap in the market and has, by submission and suggestion, steered its offering to respond to the need. The only element of the process it discounted is us: the local people and the third parties whom it presumed would wither under the sustained pressure of a third planning application for the proposed facility at Ringaskiddy in which it has already invested considerable time and money.


But what Indaver did not reckon on is the increasing determination of the local stakeholders. Our input into the ongoing development of Cork Harbour has been equally sustained and, although dismayed by the prospect of a fourth oral hearing, we have given everything of four and a half solid weeks of our lives to defending the future of something unique, entirely special and utterly irreplaceable. Cork Harbour is our strategic national asset. Stakeholders, both locally and further afield, have come forth with expertise, education and experience demonstrated to a level greater than ever before. When this planning application is refused, as it simply must be, our fight will not finish. We will continue to push for the ongoing inspirational materialisation of a dream we defended in our objection to Indaver’s first planning application 15 years ago.


We thank you, Mr. Inspector, for your courtesy and accommodation over the period of this oral hearing. We ask you to recognise that this community with its diversity of stakeholders is uncommon and that our concerns in relation to Indaver’s proposed development in no way relate to NIMBYism or parochialism. This is a community that has given over its place for the benefit of Ireland’s GDP (not GNP!) and who recognises that now it is the turn of local stakeholders to work in co-operation with equally visionary regulatory authorities to make Cork Harbour work for everyone.


And so, Mr. Inspector, in no particular order, I ask that:

  • By virtue of its unsuitable ground conditions, tendency to flood and susceptibility to coastal erosion
  • On the grounds of unsustainability with regard to waste management in a circular economy
  • On the grounds of prematurity pending successful application of higher tiers of the waste hierarchy
  • On the grounds of a site that is overly constrained to permit sustainable integrated waste management
  • On the grounds of prematurity pending statutory co-ordination and evaluation of recovery facilities throughout the island of Ireland
  • On the grounds of suspected project splitting
  • In the face of certain evidence of deteriorating designated habitats within the Cork Harbour Special Protection Area
  • In the absence of independent certified evidence of the proposed facility to achieve the requisite standard of energy efficiency
  • On the grounds of its potential restriction of the air space in the vicinity of the Irish Naval Base
  • In view of its proximity to institutions of educational and research excellence
  • With regard for a community that has given its farms, homes, water frontage and amenities to industry in the national good
  • On the grounds of respect for and preservation of the national monument of Spike Island, its curtilage and setting
  • Mindful of inadequate proof of the proximity principle with regard to site choice
  • In the light of the aims and objectives of the Cork County Development Plan with regard to both waste management and tourism development in Cork Harbour
  • With regard to the stated requirements of the Southern Region Waste Management Plan with regard to the need for additional national recovery having already been fulfilled
  • Mindful that the proposed facility will not achieve national sufficiency in hazardous waste management
  • Conscious of the as yet inconclusive impact on human health,

I ask that you recommend refusal of this planning application. I ask the Board to recognise and respect the ongoing gargantuan efforts of the local community and stakeholders in Cork Harbour, the validity of their position and, in so doing, to uphold your recommendation. I furthermore ask our national government to amend the Planning and Development (Strategic Infrastructure) Act 2006 such that no community in this country will ever again have to punctuate its family milestones with serial planning attempts by a single applicant.