Tuesday, 30 January 2007

European Commission to consider petition on Poolbeg incinerator site

Fiona Gartland in The Irish Times tells us that the European Commission is to hear a petition today on whether EU law was breached when the Poolbeg peninsula in Dublin was chosen as the site for a waste incinerator.
The case is being taken by Fianna Fáil councillor Chris Andrews, who believes the Government did not give proper consideration to a European directive that requires it to ensure waste is disposed of without endangering human health or the environment.
Mr Andrews contends that when former Dublin city manager John Fitzgerald commissioned a private consulting company to conduct a siting study in 1999, he in effect ordered the company to select the incinerator site.
By doing so, Mr Andrews said, councillors were denied their right to exercise control in the decision-making on the siting of the incinerator, and because of this, they could not ensure that the goals of the EU directive would be achieved.
In his petition to the commission, he said the Poolbeg peninsula and the surrounding residential areas of Ringsend, Sandymount and Irishtown were already subject to an "unacceptable degree of environmental pollution, accompanied by alarming noise levels and fierce odours due to industrial activity and severe traffic.
"In addition to these strains, the Dublin waste water treatment plant, which was opened on the Poolbeg peninsula in 2004 and was promised to be run at the highest of environmental and safety standards, has proven to have severe health and environmental implications," he said.
He called on the commission to ensure Ireland complied with its obligations under EU law.
Mr Andrews will be accompanied by representatives from the Combined Residents Against the Incinerator and the Ringsend-Sandymount Environmental Group at the hearing today.
The commission will then carry out its own investigation before making a decision.

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