Alliance Leader and South Antrim Assembly member David Ford MLA has condemned the decision announced by the Department of the Environment to allow Cottonmount Quarry at Mallusk to be used as a landfill site.
He specifically said that the Minister should have met local campaigners as she had previously refused to meet them, saying such a meeting would be ‘premature’.
David Ford said: “This decision has been taken by the Minister without any discussion with those most affected – the large number of people who live close to the Cottonmount site. Many of them live in new houses, which only received planning permission from the DoE in recent years.
“Yet when the Campaign Against Landfill in Mallusk asked for a meeting with the Minister some time ago, the request was turned down because it would have been ‘premature’. I wonder at what point it changed from being ‘premature’ to being a ‘fait accompli’.
“The Minister should have had the grace to meet local people and their representatives, to hear their concerns, as Lord Dubs and both local DoE Ministers did.
“I contacted the Minister’s Private Office as soon as I heard the news, to seek clarification. However, there was nobody available from the DoE side and it appears that the Minister herself was in her constituency yesterday afternoon.
“I will continue to press for answers on behalf of the people of the Mallusk area, though it appears that this will be a difficult task.”