Indaver decision due by Friday

A planning decision on a proposal to build a €160m incinerator in Cork Harbour is due by Friday, almost two years behind schedule.

Opponents of the Indaver Ireland project are so incensed at the delay that they have lodged a complaint against Ireland to the European Parliament Committee on Petitions.

Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment (CHASE) lodged the complaint on May 20 on foot of “the failure of Irish planning, and particularly the Strategic Infrastructure process, to guarantee “early” and “effective” public participation and access to environmental justice, in accordance with the Aarhus Convention and European Union environmental law”.

CHASE has also written to TDs in the Cork area expressing concern about “apparently undocumented meetings between Inadver and the Department of the Environment” which they believe took place in 2011.

This belief is on foot of documentation released under FOI which makes reference to a meeting between the parties in March and in July 2011. When CHASE sought the minutes of those meetings, the response was “no records could be found in relation to either of these”.

CHASE said it was “unacceptable that notes of meetings between Indaver and Department of Environment staff or Ministers are not on file”.

An Bord Pleanála was originally scheduled to reach a decision on the controversial 240,000 tonnes a year waste-to-energy facility at Ringaskiddy by July 12, 2016, The decision date has been deferred 10 times.

The planning authority’s own guidelines state there is “a duty on the board to make its decision as expeditiously as is consistent with proper planning and sustainable development and to avoid delays”.

There is also a statutory objective to make decisions within 18 weeks. The planning application was lodged in January 2016, an oral hearing took place in April/May of that year, and a ruling from the board was due on July 12, 2016.

It is the third time since 2001 that Indaver has applied to build an incinerator in Ringaskiddy.

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