HSE seeks study in Cork harbour ahead of incinerator

THE HSE has requested that a baseline health study be completed around Cork Harbour before An Bord Pleanála consider sanctioning a toxic incinerator in Ringaskiddy.

In a formal submission to the planning appeals board, the HSE South also expressed concern that a ‘meaningful’ public consultation has not been completed by Indaver in relation to this latest application.

In the summer of 2009, speaking in a personal capacity, HSE chief emergency officer, Peter Daly, told an oral hearing that the distance between the waste-to-energy plant and the National Maritime College would be considered within the danger zones set out by public response agencies in the event of an emergency or accident.

In this formal submission, the HSE stated that “a baseline assessment of the health of the surrounding populations should be undertaken in advance of the facility opening and a robust system for monitoring the health of local residents established throughout the lifetime of the incinerator.”

It said a “reputable, independent” body should complete this research.

Cork Harbour for a Safe Environment chairwoman, Mary O’Leary last night said it was highly significant that the statutory body charged with public health is entering the incinerator debate.

“It’s time to bring some accountability into play in this project. The HSE is the taxpayers’ organisation charged with public health, and they are clearly stating that the baseline information is inadequate and that areas of the Maritime College are inside the danger zone. The taxpayer has also funded the NMCI to the tune of over €100 million, and would like some guarantee this investment is not going to be threatened.”

Last year, An Bord Pleanála issued a “decision in principle” around the planned toxic and household waste incinerators. The board said the household waste plant was not appropriate at this time while the hazardous waste incinerator was likely to be sanctioned.

Later last year, Indaver lodged a revised planning application with An Bord Pleanála. All public submissions around this application must be received by close of business tomorrow.

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