Opponents of Hightown incinerator project welcome ‘viable alternative’

Opponents of arc21’s controversial plan to construct a massive waste incinerator near Mallusk have welcomed the publication of what they claim is “a viable alternative.”

Energy consortium Full Circle Power Ltd has unveiled plans which, it has been claimed, negate the need to build a £240m Energy from Waste (EfW) plant at Hightown Quarry.

Brett Ross, Managing Director of River Ridge Recycling.

Brett Ross, Managing Director of River Ridge Recycling.

Full Circle, the company behind the proposal to build an £85million waste gasification plant at Bombardier in east Belfast, believes its plan represents “a deliverable solution to Northern Ireland’s waste infrastructure needs.”

The company has released an 11-page document setting out its proposals for dealing with the province’s residual municipal waste - waste that is currently sent to landfill.

It claims that the gasification plant, which would use Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) to produce electricity for Bombardier and the grid, would help Northern Ireland meet its 2020 landfill diversion target.

The document asserts that the private sector-funded project would secure thousands of jobs at Bombardier and within Northern Ireland’s waste management sector, as well as creating dozens of new jobs at the gasification facility.

The Bombardier plant has already been granted planning permission. And Full Circle Power has confirmed that its Refuse Derived Fuel could come from industrial, commercial and household (black bin) waste streams, offering a ‘greener’ waste disposal solution to local councils and businesses across Northern Ireland.

Brett Ross, managing director of Coleraine-based River Ridge Recycling - the company leading the Full Circle consortium, stressed that the Hightown proposal is not the only solution for dealing with municipal waste in the arc21 region, which includes Newtownabbey and 10 other local council areas.

“The Full Circle Power solution can accept local authority waste and will accept local authority waste,” he told the Times.

“We would welcome the opportunity to discuss the subject of waste procurement with arc21 should their current procurement process not reach a successful conclusion.

“The solution being offered by Full Circle Power will provide a source of energy to Bombardier Aerospace, Northern Ireland’s largest employer, which will be of huge benefit to their ongoing export drive. The feedstock for the facility will be produced from waste treated within a number of established private sector waste facilities throughout Northern Ireland, therefore securing existing jobs within this important sector.”

Mr Ross confirmed that copies of the Full Circle Power proposals will be sent to all local councils across Northern Ireland in the coming days.

Welcoming the plans as “a viable alternative”, Colin Buick, chairman of the Mallusk-based No-Arc21 campaign group, said: “It is now public knowledge that a privately funded energy from waste facility at Bombardier, which already has planning permission, is fully capable of treating all the waste necessary for Northern Ireland to achieve its landfill targets.

“This confirms what we have said all along, that there is another option on the table when it comes to treating Northern Ireland’s municipal waste.”

Glengormley Councillor Mark Cosgrove, an outspoken opponent of the Hightown project, also welcomed the publication of the Full Circle proposal, describing it as “a well placed private sector alternative” to the arc21 scheme.

A decision on the arc21 planning application to construct an Energy from Waste facility at Hightown Quarry will be taken by the Environment Minister.

According to No-Arc21, there have already been more than 1,500 objections from local residents and political representatives.