THE latest local community ‘drop in’ information session for the Becon Project took place in the Academy Sports Club, Mallusk, at the weekend.
Representing a capital investment of £240m, the plans, if approved, will see the Becon Consortium construct a Mechanical Biological Treatment facility alongside an Energy from Waste (EfW) plant in the existing Hightown Quarry on the Boghill Road, not far from residential areas of Mallusk, Hydepark and Glengormley. The EfW plant (an incinerator) would burn residual waste from 11 local council areas, producing electricity and helping to divert more waste away from landfill.
While the Becon Consortium has pointed out that similar waste disposal infrastructure is commonly used across the rest of Europe, the plan has already met with considerable opposition from local residents and political representatives, who believe the rural location of the site means it’s not suitable for such a large scale project, particularly in terms of the roads infrastructure in the area and the potential affect on nearby residential areas.
The Becon Consortium has been holding information sessions in the Newtownabbey area over the past number of weeks as part of an extensive period of public consultation, prior to the submission of a formal planning application in the autumn.
Speaking about the events, Ian Smith, Project Director with the Becon Consortium said: “We have had a very successful engagement with local residents and businesses and found their comments and feedback very helpful. Most of those who attended the exhibition and drop in sessions have told us they have left much better informed about our proposals.
“Our experience of delivering and operating 19 similar facilities across Europe, tells us that it is vitally important to share as much information with people in advance of any planning application. We believe this is critical, so local residents have time to understand the nature of the proposals and have their specific concerns addressed. For this project this is especially the case since many here will not be familiar with the proposed tried and tested technology that has been common practice across Europe for over 20 years.
“The consultation programme will continue until the formal planning application is submitted and we continue to welcome feedback from the public on our proposals via the website, post, email or phone.”
For more information about the Becon Consortium’s plans, or to take part in the consultation process, log on to www.becon.co.uk