Residents launch anti-incinerator campaign group

Committee members, Robert Foster, chairman Colin Buick, Craig Goodall and Helen Callaghan launch the campaign against the incinerator proposal in the Hightown Quarry. INNT 26-600con
Committee members, Robert Foster, chairman Colin Buick, Craig Goodall and Helen Callaghan launch the campaign against the incinerator proposal in the Hightown Quarry. INNT 26-600con
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Mallusk and Hightown residents have launched an ambitious campaign against a proposal to build an incinerator in the area.

The group of Mallusk, Mayfield and Blackrock residents unveiled their “No Arc21: Stop the Hightown Waste incinerator” last week.

Arc 21, which represents 11 councils, and the Becon Consortium are proposing to build a £250million incinerator and waste sorting plant in the Hightown Quarry on the Boghill Road.

Residents living close to the site have opposed the plan saying it enhances Mallusk’s unwanted reputation as the “dumping capital of Northern Ireland”.

Colin Buick, chairman of the campaign group said the proposed location of the plant on the Boghill Road was inappropriate given the transport infrastructure and residential make-up of the local area.

And he questioned if the site would be viable given a proposal for a similar facility in Belfast’s docklands.

Colin said: “The Hightown Quarry site is the wrong location - it should be built in a fully industrial area.

“Bombardier is proposing to build a gasification plant in Belfast. That facility will protect thousands of jobs and help power their factory.

“It is being entirely built by the private sector and is clearly much more appropriate than a facility ratepayers are being asked to pay for.”

There was widespread support for the campaign from those attending the public meeting.

Colin told the Times he was “very confident” the group could defeat the proposal and urged people to show their support to the campaign on its Facebook and Twitter pages.

Ian Smith, Becon project director, told the Times the Bombardier proposal had “no bearing” on the incinerator proposal.

He said: “The Becon project is coming to the end of a robust 12 week public consultation period which saw us promote and host 10 days of community exhibitions and various meetings with community representative groups as well invite website, email and telephone feedback and queries.

“We will now take time to analyse all the feedback and comments received during the period to inform the planning application which we hope to submit in the autumn.”

He went on: “We are aware of an entirely separate planning application made last December for a combined heat and power plant to serve the specific heat and power needs of Bombardier in the Belfast Harbour area.

“This project is not part of the procurement process being taken forward by Arc21 for residual waste treatment facilities and therefore has no bearing on the progress of our proposals.

“We remain focused on delivering a sustainable 21st century solution to manage residual municipal waste in the arc21 area, one which brings us into line with best practice across the rest of Europe.”

He added: “The Becon project is based on thorough analysis of the known and anticipated needs of Arc21 to tackle the residual waste that currently ends up in landfill.

“Strict EU legislation means we cannot continue to send large volumes of waste to landfill and we believe this remains the best solution to achieve that, while helping improve recycling rates, contributing to renewable energy and greenhouse gas targets and benefitting our economy and the environment.”