Residents left in the dark with no update on plans for Limerick gasification plant

Maria Flannery

Reporter:

Maria Flannery

Gortadroma: former landfill site

Gortadroma: former landfill site

RESIDENTS concerned about the proposal to build a gasification plant at Gortadroma have been left in the dark, after a year with no update as to the status of the project.

The pre-planning consultation period, which sets out to decide whether or not it is deemed ‘strategic infrastructure’, was initially estimated to be completed within a 12-week period. It was submitted on January 13, 2017, and the case is still lying open.

The company behind the project, Cadence EnviroPower, has not met with An Bord Pleanala since their first consultation meeting last February.

“The application for a waste to energy facility at Gortadroma was lodged with us at the beginning of last year. To date, we’ve only had one meeting with the prospective applicants, which took place towards the end of February last year. There haven’t been any other meetings since then,” said a spokesperson at An Bord Pleanala.

“With these cases usually, when a meeting is held and the board has formed the preliminary opinion that the project would be strategic infrastructure, it’s up to the applicant or developer to request further meetings with us. It seems as though it’s been sitting with us in the interim and they haven’t come back to us - the onus is on them to drive the thing forward,” he added.

It is unclear why the company is stalling, after they secured the lease of the former landfill site by Limerick City and County Council in 2015 when councillors voted to grant it. Subsequent public outcry led many of the councillors to change their position, with some calling for the lease to be revoked.

However, the council was unable to go back on its decision as legal advice suggested that such action could result in it being liable for a large claim for damages.

Some locals are suggesting that funding may be the issue, while others think it may be the uncertain future of other waste-to-energy facilities in the south-west.

It has been suggested that the company may be reluctant to make a move, until the fate of rubbish-burning plants in both Ringaskiddy in Cork, and Irish Cement in Mungret, become more clear. If they are both to proceed, it would call into question the need for another nearby waste-to-energy facility.

Catherine Dowling, chairperson of RAGE - an action group against gasification at Gortadroma - said that they are concerned that they have not been informed of the status of the project for more than a year.

“RAGE is continuing to monitor the situation regarding the possibility of a Gasification/Incinerator development at a site in Gortadroma which is subject of an option to lease from Limerick City and County Council,” she said on behalf of the group.

“RAGE committee members meet regularly to discuss and consider any possible developments, and continue to stand united with the local community in vehemently opposing any such development of this nature at the rural site in question.”

Attempts to contact Cadence Enviropower this week were unsuccessful.