Department of Defence’s Indaver objection ‘against policy’

Haulbowline naval base
Haulbowline naval base

An aviation expert, hired to address Department of Defence (DoD) concerns about the impact on aviation safety of a proposed incinerator in Co Cork, claims the objections are “not consistent” with the department’s policy of “minimal development of the aviation infrastructure, including safety” at a nearby naval base.

Graham Liddy, former deputy chief inspector at the Department of Transport’s air accident investigation unit, said DoD does not have the base designated as a military helicopter pad, nor do they have a marked designated helicopter landing area on the base (white circle with a large ‘H’) “notwithstanding that many Defence Force facilities are so equipped”.

“There is not even a windsock, which would assist a pilot to determine wind direction and speed before take-off, at the Main Square location,” Mr Liddy said.

“They have not provided a helicopter landing pad meeting the criteria they impose on hospitals for helipads to be used by Air Corps helicopters. Thus, their objection to the proposed plant is not consistent with their heretofore policy of minimal development of the aviation infrastructure, including safety, at the NS base.”

Mr Liddy’s report forms part of the additional information requested by An Bord Pleanála from Indaver, the company proposing to build a €160m waste-to-energy plant in Ringaskiddy, before it makes a decision on the planning application.

The request was made in March and led to the deferral, for the fourth time, of a decision on whether to give the controversial project the go-ahead.

An Bord Pleanála sought more information in relation to helicopter navigation safety on foot of concerns raised by the DoD at an oral hearing into the project last year. At the time, the department said proximity of the incinerator stack to the flight approach paths of Haulbowline naval base and Spike Island was “a matter of concern”.

The planning board also sought clarification in relation to dioxin emission charts supplied by Indaver. Indaver wrote to the board saying wrong printouts were included in error and they are now submitting the correct ones, as well as additional expert opinion.

Chase, the environmental group opposed to the incinerator, said on “initial assessment” they continued to have concerns about the accuracy of the dioxin figures “and about the highly inappropriate challenge to the concerns of the Air Corps and the Department of Defence”.

However, of far greater concern was the “infinite accommodation being afforded to the applicant by An Bord Pleanála, which instead of delivering an on-target decision and meeting their original Strategic Infrastructure Act deadline of July 12, 2016, has exploited every available clause and sub-clause of that act for its own convenience and to the intended or unintended benefit of Indaver,” said Chase spokeswoman Linda Fitzpatrick.

Indaver has been instructed by the board to inform the public, via newspaper ads, that “significant additional data in relation to the effects on the environment of the proposed development” supplied by the company to the planning board will be available for inspection.

Submissions can be made, not later than July 1, by new observers at a cost of €50, or free of charge by those who have already made a submission based on the original material.

See also www.ringaskiddyrrc.ie 


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