Data mystery at end of Indaver hearing

Why some of the data included as part of Indaver Ireland’s application to build an incinerator in Ringaskiddy appears identical to a 2008 application by another company for an entirely different facility in Co Meath remained a mystery yesterday on the final day of an oral hearing into the proposed project.

Data mystery at end of Indaver hearing

The data in question relates to an analysis of soil samples collected at 12 different locations, mainly in the Cork Harbour Area, with the aim of determining background dioxin concentration levels. However, the conclusions reached did not correspond to the model used to measure them, according to Green Party member and senior lecturer in physiology at UCC, Gordon Reid.

In fact, Dr Reid said dioxin tables which purport to be modelled using 2015 soil samples are instead a carbon copy of the dioxin tables submitted with Indaver’s 2008 Ringaskiddy application and relate to values from soil samples taken at that time. They were also the same as dioxin tables submitted to An Bord Pleanála as part of a 2008 application by College Proteins Ltd to build an incinerator in Nobber, Co Meath.

The tables that form part of the 2016 application, contained in an appendix to Indaver’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), were prepared by Dr Fergal Callaghan, dioxin assessment expert with AWN consulting.

When asked to explain why the conclusions reached in his modelling exercise did not appear to correspond to the input data, Fergal Callaghan said: “I guess I can only assume, inspector, that perhaps the wrong appendix was printed.”

Dr Callaghan previously worked on College Proteins’ Nobber development and Indaver’s 2008 application.

In light of Dr Callaghan’s inability to pinpoint exactly where an error had occurred, planning inspector Derek Daly said “it certainly presents a difficulty given the modelling output does not relate to the input”.

“The veracity of the documentation is obviously being questioned. There appears to be some form of error,” said Mr Daly.

Following a short break, Rory Mulcahy, SC for Indaver, admitted that raw data contained in the appendices to the EIS was “incorrect, and that is very regrettable”. He said it would take “a very short time” to obtain the required information and that “ultimately the results of modelling are as we say [they are] in the EIS”.

However, Mr Daly said a “key consideration in making an assessment of an application is that the information as presented is robust and can effectively withstand scrutiny”.

Joe Noonan, solicitor for environmental group Chase (Cork Harbour Area for a Safe Environment) said that Indaver had “every opportunity to get its information in order” and that “without that information standing up to scrutiny, the application crumbles”.

Mr Daly then heard closing statements as planned, but not before advising those present that he would give an account to the board of what had unfolded yesterday morning and make a recommendation accordingly.

In his summing up, Mr Noonan said there is a perception that An Bord Pleanála is biased towards the applicant. He said to remove this perception, they are asking that the SID (strategic infrastructure) division of the board — engaged in a consultation process with Indaver since August 2012 — step aside and that the application be considered by other board members.

Chairwoman of Chase, Mary O’Leary said Indaver MD John Ahern had told them years ago that apathy would get the application through. “There is no apathy in this community,” she said.

The hearing concluded yesterday. An Bord Pleanála aims to deliver a ruling by July 12.

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