Local politicians are to be presented with proposals for a “viable alternative” to the arc21 waste incinerator plan, it has been claimed.
Speaking at last week’s public meeting organised by the No-Arc21 campaign group, Cllr Mark Cosgrove criticised the arc21/Becon plan to build a £240m Energy from Waste facility at Hightown Quarry. And he claimed that the proposed Bombardier waste gasification energy plant in east Belfast, planning permission for which has already been granted, offers a “far better, far cleaner” and more economically viable alternative for dealing with waste which currently goes to landfill.
“They are going to spend £240million of public money building it and the alternative proposal is being built exclusively with private money, so let’s work that one out in terms of what represents best value for ratepayers and taxpayers alike,” he commented.
Cllr Cosgrove told the meeting that the gasification plant proposed by the Bombardier/Full Circle Power consortium would have the capacity to deal with the black bin waste from the arc21 region. And he stressed that the facility would help provide lower energy costs for one of Newtownabbey and Northern Ireland’s largest employers, thus safeguarding thousands of jobs.
arc21 has previously claimed that the Bombardier plan has “nothing whatsoever to do with the municipal black bin waste in the arc21 area”, but Cllr Cosgrove stressed that Bombardier/Full Circle “want arc21 as a customer.”
He claimed that the consortium has waste receiving points in several areas of Northern Ireland from where they could ship ‘refuse derived fuel’ to the Bombardier plant.
The Mallusk businessman said his main opposition to the arc21/Becon plan is based on economics. He claimed that the current Hightown plan would tie local councils into a 29-year deal, shutting down the internal waste market.
“The Bombardier consortium is going to talk to elected representatives to see if they can persuade them that this is a very bad deal and a complete waste of public money,” he said. “Within the next week there will be a brochure going out to every elected representative in Northern Ireland - every councillor, every MLA and every MP - to try to explain, to get through the myths and try to articulate some of the stuff that I am talking about here tonight.”
The arc21/Becon plan came in for similar criticism from other politicians who spoke at the meeting, including Alex Attwood, Gerry Kelly, Paul Girvan, Danny Kinahan and Basil McCrea.
Several of the MLAs pointed to the Bombardier/Full Circle plan as a “viable alternative” to the proposed Hightown Energy from Waste plant.