Residents hand over letter to environment minister

Incinerator plan getting ‘fullest consideration’ pledges Minister

ENVIRONMENT Minister Edwin Poots has said that he is giving his ‘fullest consideration’ to the application for a new biomass fuelled power plant in Glenavy.

Planning officials are currently finalising their detailed deliberations of the application from Rose Energy for the plant at Glenavy, which has so far attracted 6743 letters of objection, 1 objection petition and 6342 letters of support.

“I understand that this application affects many people including residents, farmers and local businesses,” said Mr. Poots. “However, the issues involved are complex and difficult. With this in mind, I wish to reassure all those with an interest in this application, that it is undergoing thorough scrutiny by the Planning Service and is receiving my fullest consideration.

“I recognise the strength of feeling involved and therefore, I can reassure everyone that my Department and I are affording this complicated application the attention it demands to bring it to a conclusion.”

Mr Pools was speaking after representatives from CALNI, the action group protesting against the chicken waste incinerator, visited his Lisburn constituency office this week to hand in a letter urging him to reject the proposal. In the letter the residents urged the Minister, who is also an MLA for Lagan Valley, to ‘make the right decision for this constituency’.

Amid growing speculation that a decision on the scheme is imminent, the group said: “Your Planning Department has received substantive evidence sufficient for you as Minister of the Environment to at least call a public inquiry into this application, if not to reject the proposal outright.”

“This is a stance supported by the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, the Department at the heart of the poultry industry and as such should carry significant weight in your decision making on this issue.”

“As one of our local public representatives we are conscious that you have not engaged with the local community and have absented yourself when this issue has been discussed at Council,” the residents continue.

“We have been fully supported by your party colleagues in Council and by our MP Jeffrey Donaldson, who has been very clear that two wrongs do not make a right when it comes to balancing the needs of the poultry industry with the needs of the environment and the local community.”

“We are taking this opportunity to plead with you as one of our valued local representatives to make the decision to call for a public inquiry, as you have done for the Belfast City Airport.”

“We trust you will make the right decision for this constituency,” they concluded.

© Ulster Star, Page 19, Friday 26th March, 2010

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