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Protest over plans for toxic waste at Blackmountain quarry landfill site

By Rebecca Black

Published 28/11/2015

Concerned: Paul Maskey MP
Concerned: Paul Maskey MP

A protest has been held at a landfill site over a proposal for it to start accepting toxic waste.

The Blackmountain quarry site in west Belfast currently receives more than 700,000 tonnes of inert waste, such as concrete, stones and glass, each year.

Whitemountain Quarries have applied for permission to change the permitted use of a storage building to a waste transfer station that would receive and treat hazardous waste including fuel.

Last week, Belfast City Council's Planning Committee considered the application and voted to defer making a decision until a site visit had taken place. That site visit took place last weekend. The proposal is set to be discussed again at the next meeting of the committee in December.

Local residents have objected to the proposal for the site to start accepting hazardous waste.

Yesterday, Sinn Fein West Belfast MP Paul Maskey led a protest at the site, calling for the proposal to be rejected.

"This protest is to highlight Whitemountain Quarries' applying for planning permission to use the site to dump 300 tonnes per year of asbestos as well as an extra 2,400 tonnes of toxic waste," he said. "This will have a hugely detrimental effect upon west Belfast.

"The west of the city already features highly in terms of health inequalities. This move can only compound that."

Mr Maskey also expressed environmental fears, as well as claiming it could damage the mountain's economic value.

"The Belfast Hills is a popular walking destination for people from all over the city, as well as the many tourists that flock to Belfast," he said.

"The waste will also have to be transported through west Belfast to reach its destination, posing dangers to its residents.

"This is totally unacceptable, and we are calling on Whitemountain Quarries to withdraw their application and remove this threat to the local community and our environment."

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