WHA (Warrenpoint Harbour Authority) Executives did not attend a meeting on Thursday 7th December organised by ‘Rotten to the Point’.
WHA CEO David Holmes said, “Whilst WHA is absolutely committed to public dissemination of the recently commissioned independent Environmental Investigation early in the new year, we have no wish to frustrate our neighbours in the interim, with potentially inconclusive answers. We have an open-door policy and have actively encouraged our neighbours to speak to us directly if they have an issue. WHA is asking for a little more patience in what it believes will be an improving situation, so that full transparency can be shared in a few weeks.”
WHA has also previously confirmed to NMD (Newry Mourne and Down District Council) Council that it would attend their requested forum. It will actively press the Council for an actual review date on receipt of the Environmental Investigation report. WHA’s tenant ReGen – the RDF processor involved in this – has committed to also attending this meeting whilst WHA is also hosting its routine Elected Representatives meeting next week.
David Holmes, CEO continued, “Contrary to newspaper reports this week, WHA has not received an invitation from Patrick Brown MLA to attend a meeting hosted by him. The Port has an open-door policy and as we have said, we actively encourage people to tell us when they have an issue. We have consistently met with local neighbours and elected representatives, and we will continue to do so. Again though, we are asking for a little more time to complete a full investigation through the appointed organisation. We expect to receive this report early in the new year and will be disseminating this publicly.
“In a meeting with Sinn Fein last week, we provided an update on what we have been doing toward final resolution in recent times.
We confirmed that the presence of intermittent odours emanating from the Port are not as a result of any negligence nor misappropriation of WHA. We do however, accept our responsibility in helping to secure a resolution to these matters. We have been challenging our tenant ReGen daily on this issue to refine their processes, despite that throughout this period the licensing body, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, has confirmed that ReGen are compliant.
We have made it clear to ReGen that their process must be sustainable at all times.
“We gave assurances a number of weeks ago that further measures would be taken. We completed a tender process and appointed a company to carry out an Environmental Investigation on the 31st October. This investigation is ongoing and we hope to have the findings to present publicly in the coming weeks.
We had already, as a business agreed to recruit an Environmental Officer to support these processes, to be able to liaise with our resident neighbours, and to progress our environmental credentials. That recruitment process closes this week.”
Mr Holmes added, “We have been exporting RDF through Warrenpoint for 10 years. This current issue developed unexpectedly over the summer and even though it has dissipated substantially, we should not have an issue.
“Without deflecting, it has become apparent during investigations that there may also be smell-causing sewage issues in and around Warrenpoint. WHA has reported these concerns and incidences to the local Environmental Health Office so WHA can focus on any Port-related residual issues.
“We are very proud of our place in the community, of our Community Fund and all the many projects that we are involved in locally. We are proud of our people and the 400 indirect jobs we support in the locality in our island economy.
We do hope the people impacted by this will continue to engage directly with us and to give us a little more time to complete a full investigation.”