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Planning permission granted for controversial incinerator

Residents are angry about the news. Photo: UTV

Full planning permission has been granted for a controversial waste incinerator to be built in north Belfast.

There had been a long-running campaign by residents near Hightown Quarry against the application, but following a report by the Planning Appeals Commission, the Department of Infrastructure has now said the incinerator can go ahead.

Arc 21 - a waste management group - submitted the plans for the £240m facility over three years ago on behalf of six local councils.

It would be based on the Boghill Road near Mallusk and would burn waste that currently ends up in our grey bins at home.

The plans were submitted by Arc 21. Credit: UTV

Two years ago the then-environment minister, the SDLP's Mark H Durkan, turned down the proposal.

The department has received more than 4,000 objection letters to the plans.

Residents have listed concerns about the visual impact on the environment, light and noise pollution and health implications among their objections.

But now, after considering a Planning Appeals Commission report, the Department of Infrastructure has said it is in the public interest for the incinerator to be built and has described it as being of strategic importance for the region.

Residents are angry.

Colin Buick said it came out of the blue. Credit: UTV

Colin Buick from the No Arc 21 group said: “It's devastating. We were totally unprepared for it, it has come out of the blue with no warning from the parties."

Arc 21, which represents the councils who want to build the incinerator, has welcomed the decision.

They have said the new facility will "help significantly reduce our over-reliance on landfill, enhance recycling rates and help tackle illegality in the waste sector”.