STATEMENT FROM THE BECON CONSORTIUM RE OUTCOME OF APPEAL OF JUDICIAL REVIEW DECISION
“The Becon Consortium participated as an interested party in the Appeal of the recent High Court Judicial Review ruling to quash the decision by the Department for Infrastructure which granted planning permission for the arc21 Residual Waste Treatment Facility.”
“We are disappointed with the outcome of the Appeal process for what we believe is one of the most regionally significant and strategically important infrastructure projects currently required here in Northern Ireland.
“We note however that today’s ruling does not in any way change the material facts or merits at the heart of the planning decision itself, the project’s compliance with regional waste policy or indeed remove the strategic need for such infrastructure here in Northern Ireland in the future. Instead, the court’s decision is entirely based on procedural matters surrounding the ability of the Department to make a decision in the absence of a Minister in post.
“We also appreciate the implications of this judgement for wider decision making here in Northern Ireland in the continued absence of a local Assembly and Executive. In terms of infrastructure the decision making vacuum is having a real impact on inward investment and job creation. The restoration of the local Assembly and Executive would provide the certainty needed for decision making across all government departments, but in the absence of this we now hope that the Secretary of State and Westminster will act to deliver some alternative form of local decision making for this and many other important infrastructure projects currently stuck in limbo.”
“We should remember that the original planning decision by the Department followed a very clear recommendation from the independent Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) report, which recognised the strategic need for the facility, its compliance with regional waste policy and the significant environmental benefits it will deliver. At the PAC hearing the facts around this project were robustly considered and any concerns raised through the planning process were addressed in a measured way. Ultimately the PAC made an unambiguous recommendation to the Department to approve the project, alongside a series of planning conditions and they in turn concurred by granting planning approval believing it was in the wider public interest to do so.”
“While this represents a further disappointing setback for the project, we remain steadfast in our commitment to deliver this strategically important infrastructure on behalf of arc21 and will now take time to consult with them, to consider the implications of this Appeal Court judgement and to review all options available to us to move this project forward.”