The proposed landfill site at Macosquin in County Derry attracted nearly 2000 objections. Residents in the area believe that the water quality will be affected.

Minister Poots will approve the plans by the North West Region Waste Management Group (NWRWMG) without a public inquiry. He maintains that the NWRWMG councils went through the correct procurement procedures and met the planning conditions.

The landfill will receive non-hazardous waste from seven councils in the area but environmental groups are concerned that there could be toxic leakages.

SDLP Spokesperson on Environment and East Derry MLA, John Dallat, has been supporting the residents objections. He criticised Mr Poots’ decision.

He said: “There is an over-provision of landfill sites in this area of outstanding natural beauty bounded by the Ulster Way.

“The decision ignores a dramatic fall in demand for landfall which results from better recycling and the economic downturn.

“The minister appears to revel in making controversial planning decisions which go against the expressed wishes of people who express genuine concerns based entirely on planning grounds.”

The residents objecting to the proposals are likely to appeal now to an ombudsman.

Alison Brown

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