Campaigners opposed to incinerator granted leave to apply for judicial review at High Court
CAMPAIGNERS against a planned waste incinerator in Co Antrim have been granted leave to apply for a judicial review of the project.
The NoArc21 group is opposing a decision by the Department for Infrastructure to grant planning permission for the £240m arc21 facility at Hightown Quarry in Mallusk, on the outskirts of north Belfast.
The substantive hearing in the case is scheduled to take place on February 14 next year.
Just over £4,700 has been raised to date through crowdfunding for the legal challenge.
Around 250 people attended a public meeting in Mallusk in September, where elected representatives from the five main political parties shared a platform with campaigners to condemn the department's decision.
The announcement was made in the absence of a minister and came after the department received more than 4,000 objection letters.
An application for planning permission was turned down in 2015 by the SDLP's then environment minister Mark H Durkan, leading arc21 to lodge an appeal with the Planning Appeals Commission, which approved the project.
The Department for Infrastructure backed the PAC decision, saying it was in the public interest to move forward "given the strategic importance of the project for the region”.
The incinerator is set to handle black bin rubbish from six council areas and arc21 has claimed the plans will significantly reduce waste going to landfill, increase recycling rates and boost the economy.
Colin Buick, the chairperson of NoArc21, said: "We are pleased that the High Court considers there to be an arguable case with a reasonable prospect of success.
"Many questions still remain around the need for this project and the value for money of allocating an initial £240m of taxpayers' money to build the facility as well as much more over the course of subsequent waste contracts which councils will be locked in to."