In order to attempt to prevent the incineration of toxic waste in the Southern Environs of Limerick City, Cllr. Kieran O’Hanlon and Cllr. Catherine Slattery have succeeded in having a resolution passed at the Metropolitan Council meeting seeking to outlaw incineration within 1500m of primary schools, post primary school and public parks.
Willie O’Dea TD said, “The resolution tabled by Cllr. Slattery and Cllr. O’Hanlon seeks to vary the Southern Environs Local Area Plan to prevent the incineration of waste products within a 1.5 kilometer radius of National and Second Level schools and parks.
“The resolution received the support of all of the Councillors present, which means that the manager has to revert within four weeks with a report on amending the Southern Environs Local Area Plan to preclude the incineration of waste products within a 1.5 kilometer radius of National and Second Level schools and public parks.
“I look forward to seeing the Managers report on the matter, as it is incumbent on the Local Authority to protect municipal and education facilities that provide for the education and leisure of our children.
“Notwithstanding the bona fides of the promoter of any thermal recovery facility in ensuring safety, there remains the propensity for human error, light touch monitoring and accidental discharge. As such, separation distances between any proposed incinerator and schools and parks are a justifiable policy approach and would result in the proper planning and sustainable development of the Southern Environs plan area.”
While the Local Authority accepts the development of Thermal Recovery operations as a means of disposing of waste, the siting criteria of such facilities is an important consideration. Thermal recovery facilities should be sited within industrially zoned areas and with a buffer zone of 1500m or more (calculated by direct line measurement) from the following institutions and amenities:
– primary schools
– post primary school
– municipal/public park.
The stated reasons for this proposed variation are as follows:
(i) We the elected members wish to put in place policy objectives that provide clearly defined criteria for the siting of thermal recovery facilities within the plan area.
(ii) We the elected members, although accepting of regional and national policy that allow for thermal recovery, believe that such facilities should not be sited within 1500m (as the crow flies) of any primary or post primary school or municipal park in the interests of the proper planning and sustainable development of the area and in order to protect the health and wellbeing of children at school or play from accidental discharge of dioxins.
(iii) The Local Authority and Dept. of education have invested heavily in facilities and amenities centred around children. Thermal recovery facilities, while an accepted option for the processing of waste, are not deemed a conducive land use to be sited in close proximity to such institutions and amenities.