Waste firm Indaver says it is open to dialogue with Cork Harbour residents about its controversial €160m incinerator project.
But campaign group Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment (Chase) says it is focused on exploring its only legal option in the wake of An Bord Pleanála’s decision on Thursday to grant planning for the facility.
A judicial review of the board’s decision in the High Court could cost between €150,000 and €200,000.
Donations are now pouring into Chase’s GoFundMe account with the fundraising target poised to pass the €20,000 mark last night.
Indaver Ireland’s John Ahern has insisted that his firm’s proposed waste-to-energy facility, which will burn 240,000 tonnes of waste a year, including 24,000 tonnes of hazardous waste, will not import waste.
He also offered an olive branch to residents who have opposed the company’s attempts to build an incinerator in the area since his firm’s first planning application on the site in 2001.
“Indaver is conscious that the Ringaskiddy residents are concerned about its plans to build a waste-to-energy facility,” said Mr Ahern. “Indaver has been successfully operating a similar facility in Duleek, Co Meath, since 2011 and has developed a good relationship with the local community.
A spokesperson for Chase said they would take legal advice on the offer, but stressed their end goal is to see no incinerator in Ringaskiddy.
She said the response from the public following the board’s decision has been “absolutely overwhelming” and she thanked people for their support.
“Judicial review action is a very expensive business and all money raised will go towards this,” she said.
“We estimate the cost of this to be in the region of €150,000 to €200,000.
“To consider this and to continue this fight to stop the incinerator being built in Ringaskiddy we have a very short time to raise this money, before we can go forward and take the decision to the High Court.
“The people of Cork Harbour and the wider Cork area have already spent hundreds of thousands of euros fighting this for the past 18 years, and we sincerely hope the people will come up trumps again, and enable us to continue to fight for a safe, clean Cork Harbour, without a toxic incinerator in the middle of it.”
Thursday’s decision to grant planning was made against the advice of planning inspector Derek Daly, who chaired the oral hearing in 2016.
The inspectors who chaired the two previous oral hearings, Philip Jones in 2001 and Oznur Yucel-Finn in 2009, also rejected the suitability of the Ringaskiddy site for the proposal.
Mr Daly, who initially set out five reasons for refusal, reduced that to three on receipt of extra information supplied by Indaver after the oral hearing.
His three key reasons for refusal were the inconsistency of the incinerator with surrounding harbour development, lack of consideration of alternative sites, and his view that the project represented an over-development of the site.
But the board disagreed and said it believes a modern, well-designed incinerator is compatible with and will “integrate successfully” with the range of existing uses in Cork Harbour.
Indaver has been operating a municipal waste incinerator in Co Meath since August 2011.
The waste-to-energy facility in Duleek operates six days a week and generates electricity which is fed into the national grid.
Burning at a minimum temperature of 850C, it accepts residual household waste including “black bin” waste from kerbside collection, combustible residual waste from recycling, composting, and other pre-treatment processes, skips of combustible residual waste, industrial and commercial waste, wastewater treatment sludge, and contaminated wood.
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