A spokesperson for Becon Consortium said;
“We note the announcement made by the Minister for Infrastructure on Sunday 27th March which goes against the clear recommendation given by the Strategic Planning Directorate to approve the arc21 Residual Waste Treatment project. We will now work alongside arc21 to understand the Minister’s rationale for deciding to refuse the planning application before considering our next steps
“That means the arc21 planning application has now been recommended for approval on four separate occasions including by the independent Planning Appeals Commission. The strategic need for this type of integrated waste infrastructure has long been recognised in central and local government waste management strategies and other policies. New climate change and Circular Economy targets which place a 10% maximum cap on landfill and set an ambitious 65% recycling target by 2035 strengthen that need.
“Approximately a quarter of our household black bin waste still ends up in landfill while last year we also exported a further 235,000 tonnes of this waste overseas, much of which fuelled similar Energy from Waste plants there. Relying on such export markets is increasingly risky and expensive due to increasing import taxes being levied and growing transport costs, never mind the sustainability, environmental and reputational concerns this practice raises.
“Northern Ireland does not have sufficient infrastructure to deal with our non-recyclable waste and that leaves arc21 councils very exposed when it comes to meeting their waste management, Circular Economy and climate change obligations.”