Health and wellbeing of South Armagh Community at risk from Meath Incinerator
Sinn Féin Slieve Gullion Councillor Terry Hearty has said that whilst the adjournment of the current oral hearing into the proposed Incinerator in Nobber, County Meath (15 miles from Culloville) is to be welcomed, there is a need for Newry and Mourne Council to ensure that the health and well being of the local South Armagh community is protected.
Cllr Hearty said:
"The oral hearing which my colleague Cllr Pat McGinn attended last week has now adjourned after it emerged that a five-acre field included in the application was not owned by the company seeking planning permission.
"Presiding inspector Paula Fitzpatrick adjourned the hearing so that she can consider the evidence and make a presentation on the matter to the board.
"This suspension will give time for elected representatives and communities in South Armagh time to ensure that their concerns about the proposed incinerator will be heard.
"The right of our communities to have their input into the consultation process has been denied by An Bord Pleanala. I have asked Newry and Mourne Council to get a legal opinion on this refusal by the Dublin Planning Board. It is also essential that local people are made aware of the potential implications and impact of what the proposed incinerator will have on their lives, health and well being."
Local Sinn Féin Environmental spokesperson Councillor Pat McGinn said that the process now taking place was flawed. He also said that 7000 people had signed a petition against the Incinerator and that local communities in Meath were adamant that they would not have an incinerator forced on them.
Cllr McGinn added:
"It is ironic that the Planning Board Oral Hearing which I attended last week in Navan was further away from Nobber than Culloville.
"The fact that areas within Newry and Mourne including Culloville and Crossmaglen will be directly impacted upon by the proposed Incinerator Plant has been completely disregarded by An Bord Pleanála. Newry and Mourne Council wrote to the Planning Authorities in Dublin on September 3rd outlining our concerns and requesting permission to make a written submission on the application. In a reply received last week our request has been dismissed.
"Environmental problems cannot be partitioned. The community that Newry and Mourne Council represents were not consulted as per the legal requirement. This amounts to a serious breach of the EIA Directive, which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the competent authority for its implementation. There is also the Geneva Convention on Long-range Trans-boundary Air Pollution, which the Irish government has signed up to and used successfully in its battle against the Sellafield Nuclear Plant.
"Yet, they have not employed the same legal obligation towards the 90,000 people living in the Newry and Mourne District.
"Pollution and dioxin emissions do not recognise political borders. Newry and Mourne will be directly affected by the proposed Incinerator and it is vital that the views of our communities and the council this side are the border are taken intro consideration."
He explained that the application for a second Incinerator in Meath was brought under the 'fast-track' Strategic Infrastructure Development Scheme (SIDS), which allows the application to bypass normal county council planning channels, and a decision is expected by early November from the planning appeals board. This has caused huge controversy, with the vast majority of Meath County Councillors against the project.
The Councillor concluded:
"At the recent oral hearing in the Newgrange Hotel in Navan an initial application for an extension of time to enable councils in Louth, Cavan, Monaghan, Westmeath, Offaly and Kildare to make submissions was turned down. However that decision was reversed and now these Council areas are being allowed to submit. It is only right and proper that Newry and Mourne Council be given the facility also. The people of south Armagh have the support of the County Meath Environmental Organisation, the North East Against Incineration Group." ENDS