Campaigners call on councillors to reject £240m Hightown incinerator plan

A computer-generated image of the proposed energy from waste plant development at Hightown Quarry, Mallusk.
A computer-generated image of the proposed energy from waste plant development at Hightown Quarry, Mallusk.

Opponents of arc21’s plan to build a massive waste incinerator near Mallusk have called on local councillors to take a stand against the project.

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has scheduled a special meeting on Thursday, June 2 to discuss the regional waste management body’s controversial plan to construct a £240million energy from waste plant at Hightown Quarry.

While a council spokesperson said the details of the agenda haven’t yet been finalised, it’s understood elected representatives could be asked to vote on whether or not to support arc21’s bid to overturn the Environment Minister’s decision to refuse planning permission for the project.

Urging councillors not to support arc21’s pending planning appeal, Colin Buick, chairperson of the NoArc21 campaign group, said: “Our group has worked tirelessly over the last number of years to highlight the very real concerns of residents about the proposed waste incinerator in the Hightown area. The strong support our campaign has among local people and politicians on a cross-party basis was once again reaffirmed during our recent well attended public event.

“It is now imperative that those councillors who have supported us take the next logical step and act decisively to reject the approach currently being pursued by arc21 to appeal the refusal of the incinerator.”

He added: “Should the council make clear they do not support arc21’s course of action, the very legitimacy of the appeal will be called into question. We commend the stance of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council in raising this governance issue.

“NoArc21 therefore calls on all councillors on Antrim and Newtownabbey Council to do the right thing and reject the arc21 appeal in an effort to put an end to this unwanted project once and for all.”

NoArc21 campaigners are expected to stage a demonstration at Mossley Mill ahead of next week’s meeting, which is due to start at 6.30pm.

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that representatives of the Becon Consortium - the group of private companies bidding for the Hightown EfW project - will be in the chamber to make a presentation to councillors in a bid to secure their support for the Boghill Road development.

One local councillor, who didn’t want to be named, told the Times that much of the meeting is likely to take place behind closed doors ‘in committee’ as members are presented with legal advice about their options in terms of the council’s future involvement with the arc21 project.

• Read related article - Planning appeal hearing postponed until October