Hightown incinerator plan: Ford calls on Minister to make decision

A computer-generated image of the proposed arc21/Becon Consortium energy from waste plant development at Hightown Quarry.
A computer-generated image of the proposed arc21/Becon Consortium energy from waste plant development at Hightown Quarry.
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South Antrim MLA David Ford has said it is now time for the Environment Minister to make a decision on the arc21 energy from waste plant planning application.

Calling on Mark H. Durkan to reject the proposed £240million incinerator project at Hightown Quarry, the Alliance Party leader said: “In December a delegation of four Alliance members attended a meeting in Mallusk opposing the incinerator. At that time the widespread consensus was that a decision would be taken in January. However, as yet we have heard nothing.

“It is time the Environment Minister made the decision and put Mallusk residents’ minds at ease. I am now hearing reports of people unable to sell their property due to the uncertainty this is causing.”

Mr Ford added: “At the last count there were 3,358 letters objecting to the proposal, with none in support. Whilst this cannot be the basis for a decision, the Minister must realise the huge impact this will have on transport, tourism, the economy and the environment.

“The Minister has heard from residents, from political representatives and from experts. He knows the reasons why this must be rejected and should make a decision as soon as reasonably practicable.”

arc21, the waste management body for several local council areas in the east of Northern Ireland, officially submitted its planning application for the Boghill Road energy from waste plant in March 2014.

While the organisation says the new infrastructure would enable its constituent councils to meet European landfill diversion targets and manage their black bin waste more sustainably, opponents of the controversial project claim that it is “not safe and not sustainable.”