Appeal for Re-Gen and WHA to meet residents
This comes following announcement of another public meeting in the town to raise these concerns, taking place at 7pm on Thursday in the Town Hall.
The South Down MLA said: “I continue to be inundated with concerned constituents having to live with the awful smell coming from Warrenpoint Port.
"It is clear that the colder weather has not dented the severity of the smell and this continues to be a long-term, year-round issue which requires a sufficient long-term solution.’
“Previously Regen Waste admitted partial responsibility for this smell, and have taken a number of steps to try and get it under control, but unfortunately it appears these have not worked.
"Ahead of Thursday’s public meeting, I have written to Regen and the Harbour Authority to request a meeting with myself and some residents worst affected by the smell, and I am awaiting a reply.
"I would be highly disappointed if this meeting request is not taken up, as I believe it would be an important opportunity to put some questions to Regen in particular regarding how we can solve this issue.
"I also understand the independent Environmental Investigation Report called for by the council is well underway and the Harbour Authority are asking affected residents to contact them directly to feed into this report.
"I would highly encourage residents to do this, and look forward to engaging with them further about the issue on Thursday.”
The Newry Reporter asked both Warrenpoint Harbour Authority and Re-Gen if they wished to comment. At the time of writing Re-Gen had not responded to our request.
However, a spokesperson for the Harbour Authority said they “acknowledge the ongoing issue with some of our tenant’s operations in relation to recent odours”.
"This is not as a result of any direct negligence nor misappropriation of WHA,” they added. “
"We continue to strive to help secure a full and final resolution to this matter.
“We recently updated Chris Hazzard MP for South Down and his colleagues about what we have been doing to resolve this. We have been challenging our tenant Re Gen daily on this issue to refine their processes so that a full and complete resolution may be achieved. This is despite that throughout this period, the licensing body, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency has confirmed that ReGen remain compliant.”
David Holmes CEO Warrenpoint Harbour said, “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. This is ongoing and we hope to have the findings to present publicly in the coming weeks.
"We had previously as a business also 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."
David Holmes continued, “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 be having such an issue. The WHA Board is clear that this operation must be sustainable to be tenable.
“Without wishing to deflect in any way from this ReGen issue but for the reason of thoroughness, it has become apparent during investigations that there may also be other sewage issues in and around Warrenpoint that are also causing smells. 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. Our door is always open."