Northern Ireland news

Campaign group lodge legal papers in challenge to planning permission for incinerator

Arc21 has claimed the plans will significantly reduce waste going to landfill, increase recycling rates and boost the economy
John Monaghan

CAMPAIGNERS opposed to a planned waste incinerator in Co Antrim have lodged papers with the High Court in the first stage of a legal challenge.

The NoArc21 group is seeking a judicial review of a decision by the Department for Infrastructure to grant planning permission for the £240m facility at Hightown Quarry in Mallusk.

Around 250 people attended a public meeting in Mallusk in September, with elected representatives from the five main Stormont parties sharing a platform with the campaign group and slamming the department's decision.

The announcement was made in the absence of a minister and came after it had 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.

It approved the project, stating it was "in the public interest".

Just over £4,500 has been raised to date through crowdfunding for the legal challenge after an appeal was launched with a target of collecting £20,000.

Former South Antrim MP, the Ulster Unionist Danny Kinahan, has made a donation of £100.

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.

The Department for Infrastructure said it was in the public interest to take the planning decision "given the strategic importance of the project for the region”.

NoArc21 spokesman Colin Buick confirmed that legal papers have been prepared and lodged with the High Court in Belfast.

"NoArc21 has commenced an application for permission to bring a judicial review in relation to the granting of planning permission," he said.

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