Legal moves taken to halt gasification plant

Petition in favour of Zero Waste and against gasification.
Petition in favour of Zero Waste and against gasification.

Steps have been taken to begin legal proceedings over plans to build a gasification plant outside Derry.

The Department of the Environment have until today to respond to a ‘judicial review pre-action protocol letter’ which has been lodged on behalf of Enagh Youth Forum, Zero Waste North West and Eglinton resident Mary McGuiggan.

The letter has been forwarded to Mary McIntyre, Acting Chief Planner at the DoE. informing her of the intention if the DoE does not quash the planning permission granted for the gasification plant in Sept 2011.

The campaigners, who insist that gasification is a form of incineration, say that planning permission should not have been granted without proper local consultation or without “trans-boundary consultation” with the Republic of Ireland.

The letter also states that the planning permission should not have been granted without evidence of Habitats Regulation Appropriate Assessment and the fact that the relevant planning file or register was not made available in Derry.

Des Doherty, the solicitor acting on behalf of the campaigners, told the ‘Journal’ that the response from the DoE will determine whether or not a judicial review proceeds.

However, he said: “in all likelihood a judicial review will proceed as I am not aware of any other legal mechanism to challenge the decision”.

Despite planners admitting that there have been procedural irregularities in the Planning Application for the Waste Treatment Facility at Strathfoyle, there have been no moves to quash the planning permission granted in 2011.

A petition with over 1000 signatures was submitted to Derry City Council last week objecting to the gasification plant in Strathfoyle.

One campaigner, Eglinton resident Mary McGuiggan, who is named on the legal letter, is opposed to the gasification plant because of the negative impact she believes it will have on the environment and health.

She told the ‘Journal’ that she hopes the DoE will respond by stating they will not allow the plans to go ahead. However, she said if this does not happen campaigners are will to “whatever we have to stop it”.