Anger grows over plan for superdump in our own ‘mini-Switzerland’
A groundswell of opposition is building against plans to build a superdump in one of Northern Ireland’s most scenic landscapes.
Just two weeks after detailed plans to assure the long-term future of Binevenagh Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) were published, residents outlined their battle against plans for a massive landfill site that would take waste from right across the north of the province.
The proposed Cam Road landfill lies close to one of the most scenic parts of the Ulster Way in one of the few places where the protected smooth newt is found.
And last night it emerged that all six MLAs for the East Londonderry region have written to Environment Minister Edwin Poots urging him to rethink the plans, which are under consideration by Planning Service.
When the management plan for Binevenagh AONB was published two weeks ago, the team behind it described the region as a “mini Switzerland” with spectacular alpine heights dropping to the vastness of the Foyle estuary. The plan focuses particularly on the potential for boosting outdoor activities in the area.
But residents say that if the plans for the superdump get the go-ahead it will contradict all these plans to promote tourism and protect the AONB. They say the planned site at Cam Road will have a minimum capacity of one million cubic metres and is expected to receive a maximum of 200,000 tonnes of non-hazardous waste every years — 120,000 tonnes from the councils that make up the North West Region Waste Management Group and
another 80,000 tonnes of commercial and industrial waste from private operators.
Local objector Dr Sarah Edge said: “This mammoth landfill site will be located on top of Keady Mountain parallel to the Ulster Way, about 100 metres from the Ulster Way route. This is one of the most scenic parts of the Ulster way as it sweeps down to the sea.
“How can an AONB be the preferred option for a colossal regional landfill site that will take the domestic waste of over half of Northern Ireland?”
There are also fears that leachate from the site could seep into rivers and groundwater, polluting the boreholes that are used by residents as their water supply.
“This site is around 300 metres above sea level, so the only place leaks can go is down,” Dr Edge said.
A spokesperson for the North West Region Waste Management Group said: “With regard to environmental issues, the planning process is designed to robustly assess all aspects of any application to ensure that they meet strict environmental guidelines.”