The second day of ABP’s oral hearing for the proposed Rigaskiddy incinerator began today at 10am. The entirety of the day was dedicated to Indaver so their expert witness statements could be heard, continuing from yesterday. First to speak was John McCarthy on the design to be put in place to drain water off the road. Thomas Leonard addressed concerns on risk assessment – the Inspector raised the point that there are insufficient facts online about the explosion at Indaver’s facility in Antwerp, Belgium.
Julie Ascoop was Indaver’s expert on coastal erosion. As well as a print of her witness statement, another document was handed out to those present: an additional report into why Storm Frank caused erosion of the cliff: she said it was caused by excessive rainfall, and not wave erosion as objectors had suggested. However her report also showed that excessive rainfall actually erodes the cliff faster (when present) than waves do, so it’s not exactly good news for Indaver; and anyway both processes are operating.
When she concluded, Joe Noonan, solicitor for CHASE, challenged that the addendum handed out had an inaccurate index on two points – Ms Ascoop replied that they were rushed in putting the report together. Mr Noonan also said the addendum had not been read out; the Inspector concurred, saying he was planning on mentioning that himself, and he then asked Ms Ascoop to summarise the major points in the addendum.
Local resident John Twomey asked when the survey was carried out, because if it had been done more than a few weeks ago it couldn’t have taken into account very recent flooding events. The Inspector referred to Ms Ascoop who said the survey was carried out in January 2016.
Lorna Bogue, Green Party, at this point asked whether the figures for the coastal erosion had taken into account the possibility that the operational lifetime of the incinerator would be extended (the longer the facility is there, the more the cliff can be eroded, the more sea level can rise etc). Her question was not taken.
The next expert to speak was Joanna O’Brien on geology.
Kathleen Ryan of the Cork City branch of CHASE stood and reminded us of the legal points made at the very start of yesterday’s proceedings by Joe Noonan, and Allan Navratil on behalf of Attorney Alan Rosenberg. (Respectively they were: the hearing should be cancelled until it is established who the applicant is; and that because Indaver has the power in their hands over the community, thus putting a “commodity” – clean air – into their hands, this makes the whole process unconstitutional.)
Ms Ryan asked, “Doesn’t this make the hearing illegal?” She requested that the relevant legislation be checked by An Bord Pleanála. The Inspector replied that the matter relating to the constitution was one of opinion, and that the two points had been noted.
Quick break at 11:40.
At 12pm after the break, Dr Martin Hogan spoke on the effects by the incinerator on human health. Indaver’s expert on dioxins Dr Fergal Callaghan read Dr Edward Porter’s statement on air quality, before reading out his own.
Ken Curtin at this point requested that a link to articles cited in witness statements be put onto a website – for example the one mentioned on Tuesday.
Just before the lunch break Gordon Reid asked for clarification on a figure stated by Dr Callaghan during Dr Porter’s statement. The number “PM 2.5” appears on paper but he read out “PM 10”.
The hearing resumed at 2pm after lunch. The Inspector proposed that an evening sitting be organised for those who couldn’t attend during the day to make their submissions to the Board. He proposed Tuesday 26th at 6-8pm.
The rest of Indaver’s experts to speak were: John Kelly on visual impact of the incinerator; Carl Dixon spoke on ecology; Avril Purcell on archaeology, architecture, and cultural heritage; Jennifer Harmon on noise and vibration; and the plant manager of Indaver’s Meath incinerator, Conor Jones, on general project information. One important technical point addressed by Conor Jones is the efficiency of the installation: if it’s 65% or more it is “recovery”, but less than 65% it is “disposal”, so it must operate at least at 65 % efficiency.
Hearing concluded early at 3:45pm.
The Inspector confirmed that on Friday we will begin to hear submissions from CHASE members, and that will run on into Monday or even Tuesday. There will also be questions to the expert witnesses from CHASE, linked to their presentations. Other groups, including the Greens, will begin from Tuesday or possibly Wednesday.