Public asked to propose alternative waste depot sites

A company that has withdrawn a controversial planning application for a waste depot on the edge of Waterford City wants the public to email it with alternative site suggestions.

Oxigen Environmental Ltd, which operates a waste and recycling collection facility in Waterford, had applied to the city council for permission to develop a waste and civic amenity facility on a site close to a major industrial park and Waterford Institute of Technology.

However, a number of major employers, WIT and some local residents objected to the project, concerned that the 2.8 acre development would lead to traffic congestion, odours, litter and vermin problems.

A decision on the planning application was due to be made this week but the company has withdrawn its application and is now seeking alternative sites.

The facility would have had the capacity to process 19,000 tonnes of waste every year. Oxigen Environmental said that all waste unloading and storage would take place indoors, while waste which could cause odours would be carried away from the site within 24 hours of arrival.

Oxigen director of communications Martin Harrell said yesterday there were “a lot of concerns,” particularly from local businesses, about the plan. “We’re in the business of remaining in business and when you make a commitment to an area, you want to make sure it’s right. We listened to the concerns and we withdrew the application, it’s as simple as that.”

He said management from the company’s Dublin headquarters will visit next week to examine alternative sites but said he hoped people will email info@oxigen.ie with suggestions.

“I put a call out to the people of Waterford. The sooner we can get a site, we can increase the number of jobs on offer and the number of services on offer.”

He said customer numbers were increasing “in the hundreds by the month” and the company is “here to stay”.

Among those who objected to the plan were EirGen Pharma, Genzyme, and Bausch & Lomb, who between them employ 1,800 people close to the proposed location on Waterford’s Old Kilmeaden Road.

Two former mayors, Hilary Quinlan (FG) and Pat Hayes (Labour), were among four councillors to jointly object. WIT president Ruaidhri Neavyn said the institute feared the development would lead to “unpleasant odours” as well as an increase in traffic.

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