An evacuation route put forward by Indaver Ireland to facilitate movement of personnel off Haulbowline Island in the event of an emergency involves use of a road that is gated, with the gates locked during certain periods.
The road is a private one with no guarantee it would be available as an alternative to escaping from the island via the existing bridge.
The uncertainty over use of the road as an evacuation route arose yesterday, during the oral hearing into an application by waste management company Indaver Ireland to build a 240,000 waste-to-energy facility in Ringaskiddy, Co Cork.
An Bord Pleanála inspector Derek Daly said that “the issue here is whether there is certainty in relation to that alternative, but that doesn’t seem to be the case”.
Rory Mulcahy, SC for Indaver, confirmed the road was a private one but that they expect the emergency services would “make arrangements” to ensure the route was available.
“This is a matter for external services, the fire services. In situations like this, they have the power to access property” he said.
The issue of evacuation from the naval base arose after Indaver claimed earlier in the hearing, citing a hazard identification report, that there was “no scenario” which actually required the evacuation of Haulbowline.
PDForra returned to the hearing yesterday specifically to reiterate that it had 800 members on the island and it was “incorrect” to say there was no scenario in which evacuation would not be required “when the [hazard identification] report outlined a scenario where a fire that burned for six days could require local area evacuation”.
Chemical engineer Tom Leonard, on behalf of Indaver, said this was a “worst case fire scenario” and that modelling had shown there was no risk to people in any of the nearby developments, even for a fully developed bunker fire, and as such, no need for evacuation.
Later yesterday, concerns were raised about the physical and psychological health impact the proposed incinerator could have on people living in the area.
Occupational medicine specialist Dr Martin Hogan, on behalf of Indaver, previously gave evidence that multiple studies did not show adverse impact on human health of modern incinerator.
Joe Noonan, for environmental group Chase (Cork Harbour Area for a Safe Environment) asked if Dr Hogan’s opinions were based solely on a desktop review of the literature.
Dr Hogan confirmed this was the case. However it was his contention that a literature review was an “accurate and appropriate” way of arriving at the conclusions he had put forward. “We need to look for evidence rather than simply opinion,” he said.
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