The board had been expected to decide by tomorrow on whether to grant permission to Belgian waste company Indaver for a 240,000 tonnes per annum waste-to-energy facility on the Ringaskiddy peninsula.
However the file has yet to go before the board, according to a spokesperson for the planning authority. The board then has 21 to 28 days to reach a decision — which could push the process out to the end of the year.
Environmental lobby group Chase (Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment) said it was “not good enough” that they had been bound to timelines throughout the entire process while An Bord Pleanála had failed to comply with its own statutory objectives.
“The community seems to have been the only party forced to speed up its contributions,” said spokes- person Linda Fitzpatrick. She said Chase has spent the bones of €500,000 to date in its campaign to prevent the incinerator going ahead.
The project was designated a strategic infrastructure development just before Christmas last year and a planning application was lodged mid-January with submissions accepted up to March 9. On March 31, Chase was notified that an oral hearing would commence on April 19 — giving the group less than two working weeks to prepare. Had the project followed the board’s own statutory objectives, a decision should have been made by July 12.
However in July the board said it needed more time due to “the complexity of the issues involved”. The extended deadline will now also be missed.
In the run-up to the oral hearing, An Bord Pleanála received more than 200 submissions from local TDs, councillors, schools, colleges and residents all opposed to the incinerator.
This is the third occasion since 2001 that Indaver has applied for planning permission. Permission was granted but expired in the first instance and was refused in 2011 on the grounds it was not compatible with the county’s waste management strategy and the company had not factored in road flooding and coastal erosion risks. Should the project get the go-ahead this time, the decision can only be challenged in the High Court.