Northern Ireland

£40m Veridis waste-to-energy facility blocked

A proposal for a £40m facility using an incinerator to convert commercial and industrial waste into electricity and heat has been rejected by planners.

A consortium called Veridis Energy wanted to build the facility on the Ballyutoag Road, which runs between north Belfast and Nutts Corner.

A letter from the environment minister to MLAs confirmed he agreed with planner's decision to reject the plan.

A spokesperson for the company said it would immediately appeal the decision.

Alastair Nicol, Engineering Development Manager with Veridis, said that the company was "deeply disappointed" and added that it believed the proposal would make a positive contribution to dealing with landfill waste.

One of the main businesses involved in the Veridis consortium is Irish Recycling Services, based in Belfast.

Northern Ireland is having to drastically reduce the amount of waste it sends to landfill in order to meet strict EU targets.

Perceptions

Mr Nicol said that those targets combined with a need for innovative sources of energy made the plant an attractive prospect.

"Solving the problem of our energy dependency is not as simple as sticking up a few wind turbines," he said.

"In due course, we will need every source of energy to survive. Delivering energy from waste is an essential part of that."

He added that public perceptions of incineration and its impact on the environment had adversely affected the project.

However he stressed that many European cities had energy-from-waste facilities and that the Ballyutoag Road plant was modelled on a project in Slovenia, which had been funded by the European Union and achieved BAT (Best Available Techniques) status.

"We believe in the value and quality of this project and that people will soon realise the pressing need for it."

Last year Belfast City Council rejected plans to build a similar facility in the north of the city.

The environment minister still has to rule on a controversial proposal to build a chicken litter incinerator at Glenavy in County Antrim.

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