Residents unite to oppose incinerator plan

Heln Callaghan from the Mayfield Community Association and Richard Gregory from the Mallusk Community Action Group pictured at the Hightown Quarry site. INNT 13-424-RM
Heln Callaghan from the Mayfield Community Association and Richard Gregory from the Mallusk Community Action Group pictured at the Hightown Quarry site. INNT 13-424-RM
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RESIDENTS directly affected by the proposed Mallusk incinerator in the Hightown Quarry have joined forces to oppose the multi-million pound plan.

Last week, Arc21 which represents 11 councils in the east of Northern Ireland, unveiled a £250million proposal to build a waste sorting centre and incinerator in the Mallusk area in collaboration with the Becon Consortium.

The proposal could see an incinerator built in the quarry which would burn waste products which can’t be recycled. The so-called Energy from Waste plant would create electricity which could provide power to 30,000 homes a year.

Those behind the proposal said the plan represents a viable alternative to sending huge amounts of waste to landfill.

If given the go-ahead the contract for the 25-year lifetime of the facility could have a potential value of £1billion.

Following last week’s announcement of the proposal residents have voiced their opposition to the plan and The Mayfield Village Community Association and the Mallusk Community Action Group have come together to jointly oppose the plan.

In a statement, Mayfield Community Association said: “Although the Mayfield Village Community Association has not had time to fully consider all the information made available, our initial reaction to the proposed siting of such a major industrial project on top of the Belfast hills and adjacent to so many residential areas is one of great concern. This proposal will affect a significant amount of people living in north Belfast, Glengormley and Mallusk.

“The plant proposes to dispose up to 300,000 tonnes of municipal waste per annum from 11 of Northern Ireland’s Councils which could have a huge impact on our area’s local environment and character, traffic network not to mention the potential detrimental health impact it could have on our communities.

“We intend to discuss this fully at our next meeting and it is likely that we will be holding a public meeting to discuss this proposal with all the local communities affected over the coming days”

Helen Callaghan, chair of the association added: “We have had meeting with numerous groups and organisations and there is strong opposition to the plan.

“We will be looking to bring all those people together so that we can act with one strong voice.

“I would urge people to visit the upcoming open days at Mossley Mill organised by those behind the incinerator plan and make sure their voice is heard.”

Richard Gregory, chair of Mallusk Community Action Group said: “We have no issue in principle with an incinerator.

“If that is the technology that is needed to sort the problem of waste that we have, then that’s what we need. But it is in the wrong place.

“We would argue that they should go back to their original planned location of Dargan, where there is better road links, no residents and already incinerators already there.

“Putting it in Mallusk is just the wrong place and we are pledging our support to the Mayfield residents because they are directly affected by it and together we can make the difference.”

Read more in this week’s Times...