An oral hearing into proposals to build a massive incinerator in Cork Harbour is expected to take at least three weeks to complete.
Thousands of people have made objections to Indaver’s plans to build a €160m incinerator in Ringaskiddy. An Bord Pleanála plans to start the public hearing on the matter on April 19 at the Carrigaline Court Hotel.
The plan is surrounded in controversy and so too is the date for the start of the inquiry.
Cllr Marcia D’Alton (Ind) said she had written to An Bord Pleanála asking that more time be given to objectors to prepare their cases. She said it was unfair that objectors were given such short notice.
The Belgian-owned company has consistently argued that Ireland needs to turn from landfill to incineration.
It is the third time since 2002 that Indaver has tried to get the project up and running.
Indaver is proposing an incinerator with capacity to burn off 240,000 tonnes of hazardous and household waste per year.
Ms D’Alton, an environmental engineer, said it is unfair that the public has been given just 18 days’ notice for the oral hearing.
“This is against a window of three-and-a-half years which Indaver has had to prepare. During this time, they have had pre-consultations with the board, a luxury which the public is not afforded,” she said.
“The 18-day notification of what will be a technical oral hearing is entirely unacceptable and is utterly in contravention of the Aarhus Convention to which Ireland is signatory. I am asking that it would be deferred so the public may have adequate time to prepare.”
Ms D’Alton maintains that Indaver’s plan is “fundamentally flawed” because the incinerator is in the wrong location.
An Bord Pleanála previously ruled the proposed site was subject to flooding.
Ms D’Alton said while that was one factor, for her the bigger issue is that “it would be built in a cul-de-sac”.
“This is extremely dangerous as there is only one road into the area. There are 700 students and 60 staff from the maritime college directly across the road and then you have the Beaufort Centre and a further 1,000-plus people at the naval base.”
She said if there is a serious incident at the incinerator, the only hope for a lot of those people would be to escape by sea.
Ms D’Alton said a huge incinerator at the entrance to the harbour would be an eyesore and go against plans by the council to spend €40m turning Spike Island into a major tourist attraction.
Councillors representing Cobh/Glanmire municipal district have lodged an objection, saying that an incinerator in the harbour flies in the face of the government’s greening of the area, with renewable energy research clusters and plans for increased tourist attractions.
The group Cork Harbour for a Safe Environment (Chase) represents thousands of people living in the lower harbour, and has again lodged an objection.
PDFORRA, which represents enlisted men at Naval Service headquarters, has also objected.
An Bord Pleanála expects a decision on the project by July 12.
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