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A bird's eye view of the vineyard
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Ringaskiddy Incinerator Oral Hearing Report
Tuesday May 12, 2009 00:07 by John
An Bord Pleanala Oral Hearing on Indaver’s proposed incinerators at Ringaskiddy. The International Airport Hotel, Cork 27th April - ?
This is the latest stage in the 8 yr saga of multinational waste management company Indaver and their efforts to construct two incinerators (a municipal and industrial one, now called Waste to Energy Facilities) at Ringaskiddy, Cork Harbour and the work of local group CHASE (Cork Harbour for a Safe Environment) to stop them. It is possibly the third oral hearing in this long drawn out, gruelling and horrendously complicated process.
The reason it has been so long and drawn out is due largely to the efforts of a relatively small group of people. This group (CHASE) have engaged in the work of halting this project, on health, environmental and social grounds by raising and spending nearly e200000, and no-one knows how many thousands of hours of work. They have contested the project by means of planning objections, judicial reviews and oral hearings and for those of us living in the Cork Harbour area they deserve our utmost gratitude and support for keeping this monster at bay since 2001 and keeping our air and our water that bit cleaner and raising humanity’s consciousness that little bit by not letting this go by unchallenged.
Indaver themselves gave them credit when they revealed during the hearing that the reason they had applied for a ten year licence this time as opposed to a 5 yr one the last time was because they had spent that 5 years dealing with local opposition to the project and their licence had run out (my heart bleeds for you Indaver). Of course this time they have applied under the Strategic Infrastructure Bill that was brought in to speed up unpopular but oh so necessary projects like high pressure pipelines and toll roads and incinerators they also have a multi million euro turnover so it’s not like there’s any sort of unfair advantage here.
I couldn’t help but notice the way that the face of John Ahern (managing director of Indaver) kept changing shade up and down the scale from dark red to light and back again. Perhaps this reveals that he is feeling some of the pressure he has helped put Ringaskiddy and Cork Harbour residents under in recent years.
Anyway, I was in the hearing for only about an hour, ( it has been going on nearly 2 weeks since 27th April). There was a lot of important but hard to digest information coming out. It’s hard to get much of a picture in such a short time but here are my impressions. A point that will be surprising to some and strangely heartening to others is that Cork County Council are opposed to the project. Indaver seemed to be trying to make the point that there is a need for this project because Cork’s landfill capacity is too small while the council representatives and Chase were raising issues around waste minimization through education, appropriate technologies and changed habits. One of the council guys used phrase something like. “Decoupling waste increase from economic expansion”. They seem to have done a lot of work in this respect.
The basic thrust of the discussion was that incineration runs counter to Cork County Council policy and that if approved it will put the spanner in the work that is being done around waste minimization because once fired up it requires constant feeding.
In Cork the pharmaceutical, In Erris the oil and gas
This is practically the last stage in resistance to this project through official channels. If An Bord Pleanala give it the go ahead despite all this work (as they did before) it will require more people to pick up the baton if we really want to stop it. The Oral Hearing doesn’t have much longer to run. CHASE would very much appreciate people to drop in to the Hearing to offer support and learn about the issues.