Incinerator approval angers Cork residents

ANGRY Cork Harbour residents have accused An Bord Pleanála of being “pro-developer rather than independent” after it gave Indaver’s hazardous waste incinerator a provisional green light, despite the application lacked detail on flooding and coastal erosion prevention.

The planning appeals board last week issued a “decision in principle” on the planned incinerators, saying the hazardous waste incinerator was likely to be sanctioned while the household waste incinerator was not appropriate at this time.

The oral hearing inspector’s report was withheld until a full decision has been made by the board.

In the letter to Indaver Ireland, the board requested extra planning and engineering information from Indaver Ireland over the next three months, including remedial measures to fight coastal erosion and flooding in the area.

An Bord Pleanála said Indaver Ireland’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was “deficient” in these areas.

“An Bord Pleanála are supposed to be independent, rather than pro-Indaver. If Indaver’s EIS is inadequate in these areas then an independent process would have rejected the application, stated why, and left it up to the developer to decide whether to re-apply or not.

“A pro-developer process engages in a handholding exercise which points out the deficiencies and awaits correction of these in order to consider granting planning,” a Cork Harbour for a Safe Environment (CHASE) spokeswoman said.

“It is also a charade of openness when this intent to grant permission was issued with no accompanying inspector's report. We are being stitched up.”

An Bord Pleanála has denied charges of bias saying that under the Strategic Infrastructure Act (SIA) a “decision in principle” can be granted even though they still require more information .

Officials pointed to the ongoing application to develop the Corrib gas pipeline where last November, Shell was also given provisional approval for the project if they re-routed part of the pipeline.

“There was a time when a planning proposal would be rejected if the applicant got a certain item wrong but now we have a more enlightened approach and we try and keep it on track.

“If you look at an oral hearing process, you will see that as additional information is presented, hearings can be adjourned so both sides can examine the new information.

“Our request for extra information from Indaver is similar to that,” he said.

CHASE is due to hold a hold a meeting tonight to plot their future strategy and is taking legal advice on the “reasonableness” of the board’s decision.

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