Campaigners fighting plans for a £240m waste incinerator near Mallusk have vowed to take their battle to the High Court if necessary.
The No-Arc21 campaign group made the pledge on the eve of a three-day Planning Appeal hearing into Arc21’s controversial plan for a waste management facility at Hightown Quarry.
The hearing commenced in Belfast, on October 11, with the final proceedings expected to be heard tomorrow (Thursday).
No-Arc21 was established to highlight concerns regarding Arc21’s proposal to develop the incinerator and associated facilities at the Boghill Road site. They have been actively opposed to it since plans were announced in March 2013.
Outlining the group’s concerns, No-Arc21 representative, Colin Buick said: “The treatment of almost 300,000 tonnes of black bin waste per year will make this the biggest plant of its kind in Ireland and will involve over 500 vehicles going in and out of the plant on a daily basis. No matter how Arc21 and Becon try to package it, this project will have a detrimental impact on the area.
“It is proposed that the participating councils enter into a 29 year contract with Arc21 to supply the plant with a guaranteed amount of waste per annum and paying thousands annually in gate fees. We believe that in the current climate where recycling rates are on the increase, locking in to an outdated technology for over a quarter of a century will only inhibit recycling rates and end up costing us, the ratepayer, more as the machine will need to be fed. We are disappointed that despite the ministerial decision in September 2015, local communities and political opposition to the project, Arc21 has decided to proceed at this site. We are preparing to fight tooth and nail in the appeal hearing to oppose this project, and to challenge its legality in the High Court if required.”
Plans for the incinerator were rejected by the then Environment Minister, Mark H Durkan in September 2015.
Speaking at the time, he said: “I’m committed to a policy of zero waste and have worked hard with councils to increase recycling rates. This development could result in an increased market for waste disposal and to maintain a facility such as this, in addition to the other approved waste facilities, could discourage recycling. In that context I do not consider there to be any need for this proposal.”