Minister approves ‘chicken litter’ generator without consultation…

One of the legacies of having no local democracy with any power is that our politicians have little skill at handling or managing trade-offs…

Probably the most obvious example of that is the proposed legislation on parades… Which effectively takes an extreme measure which has been adopted for managing Orange parades through nationalist areas, and scaling it up…

The truth is government local and Stormont will have a great deal more mundane issues to deal with once the smog of war has cleared…

What’s interesting about Edwin Poots dramatic decision today to approve the Rose Energy Incinerator on the banks of Lough Neagh is that it contrasts with his previous decisions, for instance with the interconnector over the border to put the project out to public inquiry, and likewise, the new shopping centre in Lisburn…

In the case of the north shore generator, the decision was defered to the council, who after £120,000 public consultation which gave them an overwhelming approval… The council then voted no, because the few wards in the city who were affected by it didn’t want it…

The contrast with the Rose Generator could hardly be more stark…

The incinerator certainly addresses some pressing issues. Not least the pollution of the local water table by nitrates, such that that area is now in serious breach of the EU Nitrates Directive. An incinerator of the sort proposed will likely deal with that problem.

However there is likely to be a push back from the Glenavy based pressure group, CALNI... who argue that it will push dioxins into the air that will affect a relatively densely populated rural and semi rural area… as well as being  local eyesore…

So where’s the mediation? The public debate? The meeting of the residents even some of the way? Whether it is true or not, it gives the distinct impression that if there is no substantial local political interest that ministers are willing to go against local opinion…

If you are local and affected by this, let us know how you think? If you are an expert in the field and know of some of the complications around this story, let us know?

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  • Chris Donnelly

    Worth noting that the local area affected was only recently moved out of the Minister’s own constituency, which *might* have helped him when making his decision…

  • Drumlin Rock

    To put it in context, thousands, yes THOUSANDS, of job are at risk if the the poultry industry cant comply with the nitrates directive, and the timescale is already blown, I know I wouldn’t want it next door, but it has to go somewhere.

  • iluvni

    How much is InvestNi throwing into the pot this time?

  • Pigeon Toes

    “Amongst the criticism coming in, the Communities Against the Lough Neagh Incinerator has pointed out that there were almost 7,000 objections to the Rose Energy proposal, and less than 2,000 objections to the City Airport runway.”

  • Cynic

    Can we get one connected to the debating chamber at Stormont too?

  • Mick Fealty

    That’s a fair point DR. But I think there is an underlying assumption here that if you ask the locals they will always say no, when in fact it could be the opportunity to converse with them, and outline the wider reasons.

    The North shore incinerator was to take the waste of 11 district council areas… so why was it just left to a few wards to veto it?

    It’s the opposite side of the same coin…

  • Drumlin Rock

    Mick, I dont know much about how the consultation worked, have to say the Rose energy website has included more information that i have ever seen made public on any application, the belfast one seemed the usual pigs dinner of vested interests.

  • Drumlin Rock

    PT, dont forget there were also thousands of letters and signatures in support of the application too.

  • Fearglic

    Just saw Minister Poots on BBC mention he had his Scientists look at the evidence produced by experts: this from a man who believes that the Earth is less than 10000 Years old!!

  • DC

    Shit loads?

  • Mick Fealty

    I notice Eamonn has tweeted: “Lawyers are destroying the public inquiries systems.” Edwin Poots…

    By which I think he means he’s bracing himself for another judicial inquiry, perhaps…

  • magnus

    It’s about time we listed all of the capital developments with positive aspects and those with negative aspects. An area willing to take on a negatively viewed developed to be rewarded with a positively viewed development.

    Before anybody jumps in with an example such as a nuclear power station in Fermanagh being rewarded with a motorway all the way to Enniskillen, might I say there are plenty of lower level practical quid pro quo examples.

  • lamhdearg

    30 maybe 50 years from how we will have gov that works, it is for our/the children,in the mean time lets all say no to everything.

  • Alan

    Could Poots really have done anything else with the thousands of jobs on the line in the chicken industry, the threat of EU fines and the hundreds of jobs in construction that will be created – that is if it ever gets through the legal jungle ahead! Big decision taken in the face of huge and well organised objectors.

  • The Raven

    Why would INI be putting anything – monetary or otherwise – into this?

  • Drumlin Rock

    umm, because its vital to one of our largest industries and thousands of jobs depend on it? doh

  • Drumlin Rock

    that almost sounds like an idea Magnus 🙂

  • The Raven

    Could someone just check – we’re using the word “incinerator”. Does this involve pyrolysis, or just a straight burn?

    If it is the former – and I would like to hope it is – then, is it not done via a process of “cooking” in an oxygen-free environment? With no waste gasses?

    If it’s the latter, then protest away. But it’s gotta go somewhere. And there is no denying that at the very least, the plant will be an eyesore. But I think someone should find out about the process involved, before bringing the pitchforks and torches.

  • The Raven

    Really? Largest industries meaning poultry production? That being DARD’s territory, and INI traditionally not getting involved in large-scale agricultural programmes? The remit for waste (domestic, chicken, industrial, paperwork or otherwise) being DOE?

    You can’t see why I am asking a reasonably legitimate question over funding?

  • aquifer

    Probably a straight burn for the chicken litter.

    I wonder do we need the municipal waste incinerator to avoid fines from europe. We have been paying a lot of those, the price of sustained and serial incompetence in government.

  • DC

    From my reading of the plant operation it is straight burn using chicken litter bedding, steam to turn the turbine and Glenavy river for the cooling. There is to be a stack for emissions.

    But it is a plant that helps NI become more energy self-sufficient. A small part to play towards that anyway.

  • Drumlin Rock

    Raven, i’m pretty sure it is the former, as I have been corrected before for calling it an “incinerator” check out the web site might tell you.

  • Hello, someone just sent this through to me. Great blog!

    Your readers may wonder why a small community near Lough Neagh is putting up the biggest fight in planning history in NI/Ireland and perhaps even the whole of the UK. It also differs from most of the other major objections as this effort is funded by community interests rather than commercial interests.

    What is it about this application and the history in the area that has created so much outrage and driven local people to make significant personal sacrifice and reach deep into their pockets to defend themselves?

    CALNI launched legal action to challenge the decision on Sept 1st (24 hours after the announcement). The decision was an affront to democracy, but not a surprise.

    Community groups get a bad rap; but to be honest it takes a huge effort to take on a multinational like Moy Park/Marfrig and if there weren’t deep and fundamental problems with this application that impact everyone in NI we wouldn’t have bothered.