While the protestors were outside supported by a cross party selection of local MLA’s, a delegation of five residents met with Edwin Poots to present the case against the proposed incinerator at Lough Neagh.
They demanded that the Minister reject the planning application outright or at the very least call a full public inquiry to investigate serious points that could not adequately be covered by the planning service alone.
Ray Clarke, Chairman of CALNI explained, “we have presented solid evidence to the Minister that Lough Neagh is the wrong site when there are 30 better alternatives, the best of which is in Ballymena.
“We have also produced evidence of the massive negative impact on the environment and we have demanded evidence, which is being kept secret, of the economic appraisal of this proposal.
“Our research has also identified a fast growing opportunity for cheaper and more environmentally sound alternative technologies which have overtaken the ten year old research and reports on which this incinerator project is based.
“We are also concerned about the disproportionate cost to taxpayers in the form of some of the biggest ever grants in Northern Ireland for just 30 full time jobs.
He went on to promise, “residents are adamant that if the Minister rules in favour of the Incinerator we will seek a Judicial Review and take our case all the way to the European Court which could take up to six years. This is not a quick solution for the Poultry farmers and we have great sympathy for them but we have to protect the wider environment. Two wrongs do not make a right.”
Additional points made to the Minister today by the CALNI delegation were:
- That Planning Service gives the CALNI appointed experts access to the key statutory consultees for face to face meetings to fully brief them on the outcome of work carried out at the request of the community.
- That Planning Service obtain a report from the DARD Chief Scientist giving an update on research into alternative strategies for working within the constraints of the Nitrates Directive, including technological alternatives to centralised incineration, since the last report in 2005.
- DARD/DOE provide Planning Service with details of the timeline for the 2010 negotiations with the European Commission and full details of the current working plan for nitrates directive derogation.