The ‘Ballinasloe Says No’ group are urging members of the public to lodge submissions in respect of a new application for a permit to operate a waste transfer station in Ballinasloe, County Galway before Friday 15th January.
The application is a follow-on in response to the relevant permit declined by Galway County Council in January 2020 and the successful win at the High Court on the previous infill permit in 2018 to build the waste transfer station at Poolboy, Ballinasloe.
Over 2,300 people in the local community of Ballinasloe lodged objections to the plans. Those objecting had serious concerns about the potential environmental impact because of the close proximity to low-lying areas of the River Suck.
The ‘Ballinasloe Says No’ group was formed in opposition to the plans because of these concerns, fears over air pollution and also because they state that the inappropriate location of a waste transfer station in Ballinasloe would force hundreds of 30 tonne trucks through the streets of the town. The application is available for public viewing at Galway County Council.
Dr Vincent Parsons, Chairperson of the ‘Ballinasloe Says No’ campaign along with Senator Aisling Dolan, PRO and Secretary of the group, and Dr Evelyn Parsons, Galway County Councillor have held zoom meetings with locals in East Galway on what they say would be the seriously worrying impact of this development on the health and safety of over 6,500 people in Ballinasloe town. The group says the structure would have a disastrous environmental impacts to the low-lying flood plains of the River Suck Callows.
Dr Vincent Parsons said the proposed site for a major waste facility in Ballinasloe is totally unsuitable on several grounds; “It is adjacent to the old landfill which is in danger of being disturbed. Access is through the streets and residential areas. Trucks will pass by Portiuncula University Hospitals and schools. School children will be competing with 30 tonne trucks. The site is in close proximity to family homes and housing estates – many with young children. These waste facilities are associated with serious health hazards.” He added: “Online search highlights the increased incidence of cancers, birth defects and neuromuscular disorders. Respiratory disease such as bronchitis and asthma are more common. The proposed site is adjacent to the River Suck Callows – a designated SPA under European law which is also a feeding ground to several migratory Winter birds including protected species such as Whooper Swan and the Greenland white fronted Goose. The Callows are at serious risk of contamination from Leachate, pollutants and runoff from the waste.” He explained that development was stopped by High Court Order in 2018 based on the potential adverse effects on the River Suck Callows SPA. “The waste operator has reapplied. It is vital we stand together again and stop this waste facility for good.”
Galway County Councillor Dr Evelyn Parsons put forward a motion at Plenary Council and following that a proposal for a deputation with the Minister for Environment & Climate Action regarding issues surrounding waste developments operating in areas of high flood risk, heightened environmental sensitivities and close to residential areas which was seconded by Cllr Alistair McKinstry, Green Party, Chair of the Climate Change and Biodiversity Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) at Galway County Council. “Cllr McKinstry informs me that the Green Party will be also lodging a submission on these important issues,” said Councillor Dr Parsons. She continued: “Chair of the SPC Cllr McKinstry is lodging a submission in addition and Councillors in the Ballinasloe Municipal District have also agreed to make a joint submission. Our residents' health, quality of life, our environment and biodiversity in this special area need to be protected from environmental threats and we are working hard to ensure the best for the people in the area.”
Senator for Roscommon-Galway Aisling Dolan urged members of the public to lodge submissions against the Waste Transfer Station before Friday 15th January. “This is an inappropriate location for the facility, driving up to 30 tonne trucks through the centre of a town to access a site, past Portiuncula University Hospital, schools, playgrounds, estates. Ballinasloe is united in a vision for the future of our town to bring Greenways, investment and jobs. We have had families contacting us that are concerned for their children – there are young people in Ballinasloe asking for safe places to walk and cycle and a park which was committed to by Galway County Council in the High Court Order of 1999 after the last landfill in the area.” She continued: “The community are coming together and making submissions talking about the pride in their town and vision for a safe and healthy future for the next generation. There is a lot of pride in the area especially after the opening of new streets in the town and the excitement of the new Christmas Lights experience in Ballinasloe. People are also very supportive of the TII Greenway route corridors potentially coming through Ballinasloe area. We are a community group representing Ballinasloe area and its people and we are fighting for the future of our town and we need the public to say no to this application.”
Members of the public can lodge submissions online via Galwaycoco.ie or hand in submissions or post them to Galway County Council offices on Prospect Hill in Galway City before 5pm on Friday 15thJanuary. For anyone seeking information on how to make a submission, see aislingdolan.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 086 3690719.