A lobby group has criticised a request by An Bórd Pleanála for further information from a waste company on how its proposed incinerator in Ringaskiddy would affect helicopter traffic to a nearby naval base.

An Bórd Pleanála has deferred for a fourth time a decision on a planning application for the €160m incinerator by Indaver, which is near the Irish Naval Service base in Haulbowline.

The application was the subject of an oral hearing last April and May. A decision had initially been expected last July.

In a statement, pressure group Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment said while it was appropriate for An Bórd Pleanála to place paramount importance on the ability of the Naval Service to safely conduct its operations, it was "outrageous" that Indaver was being asked to comment on this.

CHASE said Indaver had no jurisdiction to advise the planning board on matters of strategic aviation, and the information should instead have been sought from the Department of Defence.

During the oral hearing into Indaver's application, the Department of Defence said it would be concerned about the proximity of the incinerator's chimney stack to the flight path for helicopters landing at and taking off from Haulbowline.

An Bórd Pleanála has given Indaver until mid-May to respond.

As the delay in reaching a decision on Indaver's planning application grows, exchanges have become increasingly bitter.

CHASE said Indaver had neither the authority nor the expertise to respond to the issue.

Indaver said it will be responding, and looked forward to An Bórd Pleanála's decision.

An Bórd Pleanála has also asked Indaver to clarify "possible discrepancies" in the environmental impact statement which accompanied its application and which were highlighted on the final day of the oral hearing. 

In its statement, CHASE said Indaver had demonstrated a lack of accuracy in relation to matters which were critical to the company's application.

It asked why continued opportunities were being given to Indaver to correct the company's errors.