Mallusk incinerator: Politicians welcome application’s refusal

There has been cross-party support for Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon’s decision to refuse planning permission for a controversial waste treatment facility in Mallusk.

arc21, made up of six constituent local authorities in Northern Ireland, was behind proposals for the residual waste treatment facility in the Boghill Road area of Newtownabbey.

The facility was designed to deal with waste from a significant portion of the population and includes Mechanical and Biological Treatment, Energy from Waste Thermal Treatment and Incinerator Bottom Ash Treatment facilities, plus a Refuse Derived Fuel Bale Storage building and an administration/visitor centre.

Yesterday, (Sunday), it was announced that planning permission has been refused for the multi-million pound facility.

A computer generated image of the proposed facility.

Minister Mallon said: “I consider that this development for a residual waste treatment facility in the former Hightown Quarry of Boghill Road should be refused. I have carefully considered all the information before me and I have listened to the concerns of local people and their public representatives. There have been in excess of 5,000 objections to this application.”

For more on this announcement, click here

Politicians from a range of parties have welcomed this latest development in the long-running story.

South Antrim Alliance MLA John Blair said: “This is the right decision for residents both in Mallusk and further afield.

“It is the result of sustained pressure by the local community and cross-party opposition across south Antrim and north Belfast. That hard work, led by the NoArc21 group, has now prevented this proposal going ahead and my thanks go to all who played a part.

“While the technology may be acceptable, the location was not, given the inadequate local infrastructure and other issues.”

Antrim and Newtownabbey SDLP Councillor Roisin Lynch said: “This is an incredible result for all of the campaigners who have tirelessly worked to protect communities in Mallusk and across Co Antrim that would have suffered if this incinerator project went ahead.

“The threat of this project has hung over our community for years. I want to thank Minister Nichola Mallon for taking this decision and every campaigner who has given their time, energy and commitment to this cause.”

South Antrim UUP MLA Steve Aiken said: “The announcement by Nichola Mallon that she has refused planning for the Hightown incinerator is to be heartily welcomed.

“However, today, I want to particularly pay tribute to NoArc21 and their steadfast campaign that today has been fully vindicated; well done.”

Alderman Mark Cosgrove, UUP group leader on Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, said: “I’m obviously delighted at the decision by the minister which is vindication of the position I have held for many years.

“I want to pay a personal tribute to NoArc21 in their steely determination to represent the views of the overwhelming majority of thousands of local residents.”

UUP Cllr Robert Foster commented: “Hopefully this is the final decision in this long running saga and I pay a massive tribute to the tenacity and determination of NoArc21 who fought this project from day one.”

Campaigners have been voicing opposition to proposals since they were first unveiled in March 2013. Among their concerns are visual impact, light and noise pollution and health implications. They also question the economic benefit of the project.

Reacting to the announcement on social media, a spokesperson for the NoArc21 campaign group said: “NoArc21 thanks Minister Mallon for her decision. Thanks to all for the continued support.”

Following the collapse of the Assembly in 2017, DfI announced in September 2017 that full planning permission had been granted for the waste disposal facility at the Hightown Quarry site. However, the Court of Appeal subsequently ruled that Stormont officials did not have the legal authority to grant such permission.

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