Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon said yesterday that she had refused permission for the incinerator and waste management plant at Mallusk.
The plan by Arc21, an umbrella waste management group made up of several councils in the east of Northern Ireland, would have seen the construction of a facility capable of thermally treating 300,000 tonnes of waste per year.
The proposal had been not been without opposition, with the Department for Infrastructure receiving over 5,000 letters objecting to the planned facility.
The department said that 168 letters of support were received.
Ms Mallon said that she had heard the concerns of locals.
“My priorities for this Assembly mandate were to improve lives, connect communities, grow a balanced economy and tackle the climate emergency.
“In respect of the latter, I am committed to climate action, and promoting recycling is an important aspect in that regard.
“This development could result in an increased market for waste disposal and to maintain a facility such as this, in addition to the other approved waste facilities, could discourage recycling.
“I am not persuaded that there is a need for this specific facility. In that context I do not consider there to be any need for this proposal.”
The decision was welcomed by South Antrim Alliance MLA John Blair.
“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,” he said.
“While the technology may be acceptable, the location was not, given the inadequate local infrastructure and other issues.”
SDLP South Antrim Assembly candidate councillor Roisin Lynch said her party colleague had made the right decision.
Ms 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. Their steadfast commitment to protecting the health of our people and the environment we enjoy has been second to none.
“This is an example of what can be achieved when political leaders listen to local communities and put people first.
“The threat of this project has hung over our community for years. The action taken by the SDLP’s minister today is decisive and firmly in the corner of the people we represent.
“I want to thank Nichola Mallon for taking this decision and every campaigner who has given their time, energy and commitment to this cause.”