The Communities Against the Lough Neagh Incinerator (CALNI) has welcomed a decision today by the High Court to rule that the statement made by former DOE Minister Sammy Wilson MP MLA, which stated that economic benefit should be given decisive weight in determining major planning applications, should be quashed as unlawful.
Reacting to the announcement CALNI President Danny Moore said,
“This is a huge decision for our campaign given that Minister Poots has justified granting planning approval for the Moy Park incinerator almost exclusively upon the economic benefit Ministerial statement by his predecessor.
“CALNI was a Notice Party to the legal action and has supported it throughout because the statement was being used by Minister Poots to override environmental issues to grant approval for the incinerator.
In a written answer to an Assembly Question put to him by Mitchel McLaughlin, Minister Poots said on 24th September 2010, ‘ In determining the two planning applications, it has been concluded that the economic considerations in support of the power plant proposal and associated water abstraction facility should be given determining weight’.
The two planning applications are for the water abstraction facility for the incinerator and the incinerator itself.
Mr Moore went on to call for Planning Service to now immediately revoke the planning approval. He stated,
“Even though our own judicial review challenge against the incinerator planning approval is scheduled for February 2011, we now have to ask what is the point of Minister Poots clinging to such flawed reasoning for granting the planning approval?
“The planning approval should also be rescinded immediately.
“The incinerator should never have been granted any planning approval because of its completely inappropriate location in the countryside beside Lough Neagh”, concluded Mr Moore.
Notes To Editors
Northern Ireland Assembly, Written Answers to Questions,
24th September, 2010
Planning: Rose Energy
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Mr M McLaughlin asked the Minister of the Environment to provide his rationale for approving the planning application for Rose Energy’s incinerator at Glenavy despite local community objections, and in light of his decision for a public inquiry into a runway extension at George Best Belfast City Airport following local community objections.(AQO 72/11) Emphasis added by CALNI
Minister of the Environment: The two Rose Energy planning applications for a Biomass Fuelled Power Plant and a Water Abstraction Facility have been fully assessed having regard to the Development Plan for the area and all other material considerations including the views of third parties and the expert advice provided by consultees.
In determining the two planning applications, it has been concluded that the economic considerations in support of the power plant proposal and associated water abstraction facility should be given determining weight. In addition, the advice from DARD’s scientific advisors is that a biomass fuelled incineration plant is currently the only proven technology for processing poultry litter on a commercial scale that significantly reduces the volume of litter to be disposed of. In addition, this type of facility can help Northern Ireland comply with EU Directives and avoid potential EU infraction costs.
Following advice from my planning officials, I am satisfied that the issues raised by third parties have either been satisfactorily addressed by the applicant or can be controlled either under the IPPC permitting regime or by the imposition of planning conditions.
Each planning application is determined on its merits’ and the number of representations received in respect of a planning application is not justification in itself to cause a public inquiry to be held. The key test for the Department in deciding the process route is whether a public inquiry is necessary to provide a forum for presentation and consideration of issues arising from the representations received and which need to be assessed to allow the Department to determine the application.
In this case it is contended that a public inquiry is not required on the grounds that, it is not considered necessary to further consider the representations that have been made in order to assist the Department in arriving at a decision in this case.