‘This is a long way from being a done deal’

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A Glengormley councillor has claimed that there is no need to build a huge waste incinerator at Hightown, as a viable alternative has already been granted planning permission.

Councillor Mark Cosgrove, who runs a logistics business in Mallusk, made his comments after waste management body arc21 submitted a formal planning application for a £240m Energy from Waste plant at Boghill Road.

The UUP representative, an outspoken opponent of the plan, claimed this week that a consortium behind plans to construct an £85million waste gasification plant at Bombardier in Belfast is set to offer an alternative to the Hightown project.

arc21 and partners the Becon Consortium have previously stressed that the Bombardier plan, which has already been granted planning permission, has “nothing whatsoever to do with the municipal black bin waste within the arc21 area.” But Cllr Cosgrove believes that the Bombardier plan does offer a realistic alternative for dealing with household waste that can’t be recycled.

“This proposed incinerator is as unnecessary as it is unwelcome. Whilst there are many good logistical, environmental and health reasons to oppose it, my main grounds are on simple economics.

“These proposals are simply not necessary given the emergence of an alternative gasification facility on the grounds of Bombardier Aerospace in Belfast. Instead of spending hundreds of millions of pounds of public money, closing down the internal waste market for 29 years and mortgaging our ratepayers for two generations the ‘Bombardier consortium’ can receive black bin waste before transporting the minor element that currently goes to landfill for gasification to Bombardier to provide them with much-needed, more competitive energy costs. It is unfortunate that this consortium were not together whenever arc21 went out to tender for the waste contract several years ago, but nevertheless their proposals cannot be ignored,” he commented.

“Plans are at an advanced stage for a major series of elected representative and local residents meetings so that we can have an informed debate before Newtownabbey and other councils throughout Northern Ireland potentially make a very short-sighted decision.

“This is a long way from being a done deal and we are sick of Mallusk and greater Glengormley being the dumping ground for Northern Ireland.”

Cllr Cosgrove urged local residents who are opposed to the arc21 plan to register their objections with the Planning Service as soon as possible.