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Durkan blocks giant energy-from-waste project

Words: Roger Milne
Mark H Durkan

Proposals for a controversial multi-million pound energy-from-waste project on the edge of Belfast have been refused planning permission by environment minister Mark H Durkan, against the recommendation of officials.

Arc 21, which represents a number of councils and the Becon Consortium, proposed to build a £250 million waste facility in the Hightown Quarry on the Boghill Road in Newtownabbey.

But the plan faced huge public opposition, with residents close to the site arguing that the proposed location for the facility was inappropriate. Thousands objected to the scheme.

The minister revealed yesterday (Thursday) he was blocking it.

He said: "I consider this development for a residual waste treatment facility in the former Hightown Quarry of Boghill Road should be refused.

“I have carefully considered all the information before me. I have listened to the concerns of local people and their public representatives.

"To date, there have been 3,526 objections and one petition of objection with 836 signatures."

Refusal of planning permission leaves the councils with a problem of how to deal with their waste and how to meet EU targets on recycling.

Image courtesy of the Northern Ireland Executive