After addressing an adjournment debate in the Assembly, Sinn Féin South Antrim MLA, Declan Kearney has urged the Minister for Infrastructure to face down the aggressive commercial interests driving the Hightown incinerator proposal and to refuse the Arc21 planning application.
Declan Kearney said,
“There is overwhelming opposition to the Hightown incinerator among local residents in the Hightown and Mallusk area, and the rural dwellers on the neighbouring Belfast Hills. This opposition, led by the noARC21 campaign, has grown exponentially over the past seven years since the proposal was first tabled in 2014. Over 5,000 have now publicly registered their opposition.
“Residents have expressed concerns about the repercussions which would flow from this particular proposal if approved, including for the health and wellbeing of local residents and their families. There are well-founded fears about negative consequences for the natural habitat and ecosystem of the surrounding countryside. The Planning Appeals Committee has already highlighted significant concerns including the visual impact of the site.
“While Arc21 persists in pushing ahead with its plans, my constituents of South Antrim continue to live with the uncertainty of this incinerator emerging in the immediate vicinity of their homes and local countryside.
“In addition to sharing all the fears expressed by the community, I am also deeply concerned that aggressive commercial interests are driving this proposal, the only outcome of which would be to give primacy for private profit over wider public good, with the long-term costs being carried by local ratepayers.
“I therefore fully support the letter submitted by all our Sinn Féin MPs, and their SDLP and Alliance Party MP colleagues, asking the Minister for Infrastructure to refuse this application.
“On my own behalf, and that of my local constituents in South Antrim, I urge the Minister not to bow to the aggressive commercial interests behind this proposal, to listen to the community which will be impacted, to complete the appropriate assessment of this application, and then refuse this planning application for the Hightown incinerator.”