A man – whose family have lived in Mallusk for six generations – has described plans for a massive waste incinerator as a “monstrosity on my doorstep”.
Adrian Moore was one of 150 people who attended a public meeting on Wednesday in opposition to the planning application from arc21 – the waste management group for Newtownabbey and 10 other local councils – for the facility at Hightown Quarry.
The father-of-three, who said he is normally “totally apolitical”, explained that he felt moved to attend the meeting and make his feelings known.
The 42 year-old, who works in the family construction company, echoed the argument of Colin Buick, chair of opposition group No-Arc21, who said that plans for a gasification plant in east Belfast is the best way forward and negates the need for an incinerator at Hightown.
UUP councillor and party spokesman for business, Mark Cosgrove, said he is opposed to the Hightown plan mainly on economic grounds. He said the existence of a viable alternative, which will be built with private money in a mainly industrial area in east Belfast, makes the plans for Hightown “completely unnecessary”.
Wednesday’s meeting agreed a proposal that No-Arc21 should write to all local councillors asking that they state publicly where they stand on the issue.
Meanwhile, two Newtownabbey councillors, who are related to a DUP MLA who is opposed to the construction of a massive waste incinerator in the area, voted in favour of a council motion on the issue last month, it has emerged.
Paul Girvan MLA said that while he is not opposed to incineration generally, he did not think “a rural setting is the right setting for it”.
At a council meeting held in private last month, Mr Girvan’s wife Mandy and son Timothy both voted in favour of a motion to set aside council money which could be used by the group behind the incinerator plan. The motion was passed by 11 votes to nine.
But Mr Girvan told the News Letter councillors had been subjected to a “bullying tactic” over the issue where the council would have been held liable for a surcharge had they voted against it. He claimed the other 10 councils had passed the motion unanimously and accused some parties of not being “truthful and playing abstentionist politics on the issue”.
‘Safe, modern infrastructure’
A spokesman for arc21, who declined an invitation to attend Wednesday’s meeting, said they aim to “deliver a safe, state-of-the-art waste management infrastructure which is common throughout Europe”.
“The new facilities will enable the region to meet European targets, manage its waste more sustainably, provide economic benefits and contribute to greater energy diversity and security,” he added.