THE decision to postpone a decision on the Ringaskiddy incinerator for a fourth time has been slammed by local groups.
An Bord Pleanála was scheduled to announce its decision on March 22.
However, this has been postponed yet again.
While the planning body declined to comment on the latest refusal, it is understood that it has postponed the decision in a bid to seek further information from Indaver, which first proposed the incinerator some 17 years ago.
Communities in the lower harbour have rallied against the plans for a 240,000 tonnes-per-annum incinerator in the years since and have described themselves as 'shocked' at the latest delays.
The Green Party in Cork has also expressed its dismay at this latest setback.
An Bord Pleanála were initially due to release its report in the wake of an oral hearing on July 12, 2016.
Further deadlines were also missed on October 26, 2016 and January 24, 2017.
The oral hearing was staged over 17 days in April and May 2016.
Among those to object to the plans were all four Cork South-Central TDs, including Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Simon Coveney and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin.
Almost twelve months on from the hearing, there is still no clarity for residents in the lower harbour, who have fought against plans to develop a €160 million hazardous and municipal waste incinerator for almost two decades.
Dr Gordon Reid, Green Party representative for Bandon-Kinsale, said the delays were adding 'stress' for people all over the harbour area.
"At this stage, we really need transparency," he said.
"An Bord Pleanála are likely to be talking to Indaver but the communities most affected are completely excluded from the process. We need to know what's going on."
In total, some 220 submissions were heard from interest parties at last year's oral hearing.
Dr Reid said, "Considering the weight of evidence against the incinerator presented at the oral hearing, it can hardly be possible for An Bord Pleanála to give permission.
"What we need from them is a clear and quick refusal."