STRATHFOYLE and Maydown residents are continuing their call for a full and comprehensive environmental impact study to be carried out in the area to assess if there is any correlation between pollution created by local industries and the health of people living there
The Enagh Youth Forum and Strathfoyle Woman’s Activity Group recently made the case for a health impact study before Derry City Council’s Environmental Services Committee
In a presentation to Council Shauna Healy also highlighted concerns in relation to a proposed gasification plant being located in the area.
Local residents have been vocal in their opposition to the proposed new waste facility - considered a type of incinerator by the EU - that will dispose of at least 120k tonnes of household rubbish generated by households from Moyle to Strabane every year.
Before Christmas the North West Region Waste Management Group (NWRWMG) - an umbrella body representing seven local councils - recommended Brickkiln, Sisk and Shanks deliver the half billion-plus pound project.
The incinerator will dispose of the weight equivalent of the total annual EU beef exports to the US.
Speaking on behalf of the Strathfoyle delegation at Ms Healy told councillors there was a lack of community consultation in the planning stages of the plant and claimed it would be the first gasification plant on the island.
In a statement to the Sentinel she explained: “We are deeply concerned about the negative health impact of existing industries on local residents and this proposed gasification plant could mean serious health implications for local residents if something goes wrong, which has happened in a number of gasification plants that have been developed in recent years.”
She said residents realise there is a need to deal with black bin rubbish in an alternative way to landfill prior to 2020 as directed by the EU.
“But why the push to build an incineration plant so close to where thousands of residents reside? And why on such a large scale where the chances of problems arising are increased?” she asked.
Following the meeting Derry City Council agreed that an information day would be arranged in respect of the proposed plant.
A North West Reginal Waste Management Group (NWRWMG) spokesperson said: “The proposed waste solution for the North West - a combination of Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) and Gasification - will boost recycling rates, provide renewable energy from the region’s waste and create 200 construction jobs and 40 full-time positions.
“The proposed technologies are widely used throughout Europe, North America and Japan, and have a proven track record. They will bring the North West into line with modern best practice waste infrastructure globally.
“The facilities have been designed to handle the NWRWMG Councils’ waste, currently 120,000 tonnes, and have a maximum capacity of 140,000 tonnes.
“As part of the planning process, studies have been carried out that showed the proposed facilities not to be detrimental to public health, either by themselves or in conjunction with existing facilities.
“The proposed waste solution is the culmination of over a decade of planning, including public consultations on the NWRWMG Regional Waste Management Plan and the Department of the Environment’s NI Waste Management Strategy.”