Randox boss calls for public inquiry into incinerator plan

THE Managing Director of Randox Laboratories, Mr Peter Fitzgerald, has called for a public inquiry into plans to build a chicken waste incinerator in Glenavy and repeated there would be a threat to 650 jobs at his company if the scheme is approved.

"We expect this planning process to be demonstrably open and transparent and remain unconvinced that our science-based concerns on the impact of our production of our world class, health diagnostic materials have been taken seriously," said Mr Fitzgerald.

"A report by the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, part of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, is remarkably dismissive of our fears while apparently wholly accepting of data provided for them by the applicant; yet AFBI suggest questions about this evidence should be directed at Rose Energy. If they are not equipped to ask those questions then someone else should.

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"We believe no decision can be taken on the application until the source data and science provided by the applicant has been rigorously and verifiably checked by a wholly independent body or agency," he continued. "To date it is our belief that this has not been done.

"We have written to the minister to reiterate our fears as we seek to protect the 650 bioscience jobs at Randox in Crumlin as well as the future growth of the company globally. In the last year alone we have added 70 more jobs and have ambitious plans to see the business expand.

"Surely there is no reason for all this to be potentially placed in jeopardy by the Rose Energy application and if, as they claim, the proposed plant is safe and clean, then a better and more industrial location can be found rather than rural Northern Ireland.

"Therefore we call for a public enquiry so that all aspects of what are complex scientific matters can be openly and transparently reviewed," he concluded.

Lagan Valley MLA Basil McCrea added: "I am urging the Minister to ensure everything has been properly considered before a decision on the application is made. We need a public inquiry to ensure and independent review of the information provided."