“My initial reaction to the decision today to grant permission to Indaver Ireland to build an incinerator in the heart of Cork Harbour, is one of deep disappointment and frustration.
“I have opposed this application from the beginning and have supported the local community in their efforts to prevent this from going ahead for a decade now.
“At the time of the oral hearing I made a detailed submission in person outlining that it was inconceivable for a major incinerator to be developed in a harbour area where the Government has already invested millions in a marine college, clean-energy research centres and the clean-up of the old Irish Steel/Irish Ispat site on Haulbowline Island. The An Bord Pleanála Inspector who managed the oral hearing recommended refusal based on many of those arguments.
“I have spent a lot of time around the Cabinet table making the case for significant investment in Cork Harbour. We have a master plan for Spike Island and a master plan for Haulbowline Island, including investment of €70 million.
“We are working hard to create something very special at the heart of Cork Harbour area which is of national significance. I can understand that people will be very angry and frustrated at this announcement today and I share this sense with them.”
Note to Editors:
Below is a copy of submission by Simon Coveney TD to An Bord Pleanála:
By Registered Post
An Bord Pleanála
64 Marlborough Street
8th March 2016
Re: Lodging my objection to An Bord Pleanála.
Ref: Strategic Infrastructure Development Application PL04. PA0045
Re: Indaver Ireland Limited, Waste to Energy Facility, Ringaskiddy, Co Cork
Dear Sir/ Madam,
I am writing to object to the planning application by Indaver Ireland Ltd for a Waste to Energy Facility on a site in Ringaskiddy, Co. Cork. The application is being made as a Strategic Infrastructure Development Application, Case No. PA0045.
I have taken a personal and political interest in the development of Cork Harbour and surrounding areas for the last 15 years, as a Cork County Councillor, TD and most recently as Minister for Marine and Minister for Defence.
While I appreciate that there is a broad variety of private, commercial and State interests in the Ringaskiddy area, I believe fundamentally that the proposed site for this application is the wrong location for a large commercial waste management facility.
I believe the site to be too confined. I believe the proposed development will impact negatively on the public amenity beach adjacent to it. Most importantly I believe the proposed development to be totally inconsistent with the Government supported projects immediately adjacent to the site to the North.
I enclose extracts from the Masterplan for the development of Haulbowline Island (which I was responsible for commissioning as Minister, working with Cork County Council) and from the IMERC Masterplan. There is also a similar Masterplan for the development of Spike Island as a tourist visitor attraction. All of these plans have been developed by public bodies in the public interest.
These are multi million euro State financed projects that have taken shape since Indaver previously applied for and failed to get planning permission to build an Incinerator on the same site. The Government has either spent or is committed to spend approximately €100 million to develop a new future for this cluster at the heart of Cork Harbour. The developments involve national government departments, Cork County Council, UCC, CIT, NMCI, The Port of Cork, The Irish Naval Service and many private investors and companies. I would be happy to provide you with the detail of the many projects concerned if that would be helpful.
This part of Cork Harbour has effectively become a new zone for education, research, innovation, clean technology and business development. There are 48 companies currently working in the newly opened Beaufort laboratory, developing and testing renewable ocean energy solutions.
The next phase of development, which is already committed to with full permission, is a marine leisure / tourism investment programme. Haulbowline and Spike are being transformed for the better. The beach adjacent to the Indaver site and the new footpaths and lighting recently completed are proof of the changed environment.
It simply cannot be consistent with good planning, or existing planning guidelines relating to incineration, to permit the construction of a 240,000 tonne waste to energy facility in the immediate vicinity of the most progressive cluster of projects that Cork Harbour has seen in decades. Please look at some of the detailed maps in the enclosed documentation to appreciate just how close the Indaver site is to the projects referred to in this letter. It is effectively part of the cluster.
I am a public representative always looking to support projects that create employment and economic growth, but I am also a passionate advocate for the right type of development in the right location, particularly in the vicinity of such an iconic location like Cork Harbour.
Please consider what has happened, what is underway and what is planned for the heart of Cork Harbour and the positive impact of that State backed and prepared plan on the broader population and region. When making a decision on the Indaver application the broader interests of the harbour area can surely not be ignored given how strategic the location of the site is.
I look forward to a detailed and fair oral hearing to develop these points further.
Simon Coveney TD
01 618 4041