News

Adams weighs into Warrenpoint waste row

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

SINN Fein President, Gerry Adams, has called for transparency amid the ongoing dispute over proposals for a hazardous waste disposal unit at Warrenpoint Harbour.

Last week the Newry Democrat reported how residents had raised fears at the Warrenpoint Harbour Authority AGM about its potentially harmful effect on the environment.

Newry-based company Re-Gen Waste Limited have recently submitted an application for a Pollution Prevention and Control Permit, to "operate an installation involving the treatment, transfer and temporary storage of hazardous waste."

The planning application, which has been viewed by the Newry Democrat, details that waste that is to be stored there includes; 200 tonnes of carcinogenic waste, 75m3 of harmful wastes, 175m3 of corrosive wastes, 10m3 of infectious wastes, 25m3 of 'toxic for reproduction' wastes, 25m3 of mutagenic wastes, 5m3 of 'release of an acute toxic gas' waste and 25m3 of cytotoxic wastes.

Such materials are not to be stored on site for more than three months at a time.

Mr Adams, who is a Louth TD, said: "Concerns have been raised with Sinn Féin representatives who represent both sides of Carlingford Lough, about the potential environmental impact of a proposal to construct a hazardous waste treatment facility in Warrenpoint.

"Carlingford Lough is an area of outstanding natural beauty with the Mourne Mountains to the North and the Cooley's to the South. It is a significant tourist destination for thousands of visitors each year. There are understandable fears about the potential damage a waste disposal facility might pose to the area.

"My colleague, Chris Hazzard MP, raised these concerns directly with Re-Gen last week. They told him that a comprehensive community consultation will take place this summer.

"However it isn't clear if this consultation will also include the Louth side of the Lough.

"I have written to Re-Gen Waste Ltd, the Warrenpoint Harbour Authority, to the two Councils that border Carlingford Lough, and to the respective government departments on both sides of the border asking that the fullest information is made available to local communities.

Transparency is essential so that those who might be affected by this plant have the opportunity to decide their attitude to it and have a say in its future." Last week, Re-Gen described themselves as "an environmentally responsible organisation with vast experience in the waste management sector.

"Re-Gen Waste will undertake a comprehensive community consultation exercise prior to 31st August 2017 which will be advertised in local press, the company website, the company's social media channels and through political representatives in the area," said the spokesperson.

Warrenpoint Harbour Authority (WHA) welcomed the news that the consultation process will begin next month, and have stressed that the application is very much in its infancy at present.

"Warrenpoint Harbour Authority would like to clarify that the proposal from Re-Gen Waste to develop a new waste management facility at the Harbour will be subject to exactly the same rigorous processes, procedures and scrutiny as any other proposed development on the site," said a WHA spokesperson.

"In this instance, this will require the applicant to achieve the necessary permits and licenses from the NI Environment Agency, appropriate planning approval for the development and of course the approval of the Board of Warrenpoint Harbour Authority, if this project is to progress.

"At this stage the applicant is very much at the starting point of these processes and they do so entirely at their own risk. For our part we will continue to monitor closely how their plans progress.

"Warrenpoint Harbour Authority remains fully committed to working with the community for the benefit of all our stakeholders.

As such, we have encouraged the applicant to undertake a comprehensive community consultation exercise to ensure full transparency around this project and to give stakeholders an opportunity to have any concerns around this proposal addressed."

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