Green Party chairman John Gormley has urged An Bord Pleanála not to overturn its own inspector's report, if he recommends against the proposed Poolbeg incinerator in Dublin.
Mr Gormley was speaking yesterday as the month-long hearing into Dublin City Council's plans for the incinerator, which would burn 600,000 tonnes of waste annually, was in its final stages.
He said he was confident that the hearing inspector, Padraic Thornton, would recommend against the incinerator, but he said he was concerned that the board might feel under pressure to ignore that recommendation.
"I am concerned that the board may consider itself under an obligation to approve the proposed incinerator on the basis of 'Government policy', as we have seen in previous similar cases."
The development of the incinerator would be a "giant leap backwards", he said, in that it would encourage the least favourable waste management options of energy recovery and disposal rather than the most environmentally friendly options of waste prevention and minimisation.
The Dublin Regional Waste Management Plan, in which the development of the incinerator was proposed, was "fatally flawed" in that it did not comply with the EU hierarchy on waste management which states that prevention and minimisation were the best options.
To be viable the incinerator would require that the level of rubbish feeding it did not decline. This, Mr Gormley said, was contrary to good waste management policy.
"This incinerator will effectively freeze our progress towards more sustainable waste management for a period of at least 25 years," he said.
Local residents in the Poolbeg/Ringsend area had already accepted a large number of "dirty industries", including a sewage plant which had created an "intolerable odour problem", he said.
The council had demonstrated incompetence in its running of the sewage plant and the board should look very carefully at whether it should be trusted with another major piece of infrastructure, Mr Gormley said.
© 2007 The Irish Times