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?

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty