Blueprint for island being finalised

THE Department of the Environment is finalising a draft plan on how the Cork harbour island of Haulbowline can be cleaned up and redeveloped.

The blueprint will be brought to cabinet shortly and will list options for the safe disposal of waste from the Irish Steel plant and the redevelopment of the site.

It was estimated by contractors last year that a full clean-up of the site could cost up to €300 million. Options include the storing of waste in tanks or its permanent removal. However, central to any future plans, the department says, is a public consultation process with local communities.

“We want to see the locals involved with the monitoring of the site with plans for the future,” said a spokesman. “This island was a steel mills for years and is the dirtiest site in Ireland, that’s a fact. But there has been a lack of consultation with the local population about the site and we want to change that.”

Meanwhile, he strongly denied that the department is refusing to publish test results which show extraordinary breaches of toxic waste legislation.

Conservation group Friends of the Irish Environment has said the department was sent the results by the contractors last August as part of a “safety file” and that they will not release them to the public.

However, a spokesman for the Minister of the Environment said they never commissioned the tests and are unsure which part of the island the samples were taken from.

“They are not our tests. The contractor may have said he sent them but we cannot locate them,” said the spokesman.

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