Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Gormley sets out Roadmap to New Waste Policy

The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Mr. John Gormley, TD, has set out his plans for the delivery of a new waste management policy for Ireland.

The process will involve significant consultation with key stakeholders and the general public over the coming weeks. “I want to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to contribute to the development of the Government’s waste management policy. The policy will focus on moving Ireland away from an over-emphasis on residual waste management and to a focus on prevention, minimisation and recycling.”

As a first step in the process, the Minister launched a consultation on a draft Bill which has been approved by Government for the application of levies to landfills and incinerators.

The levies will be designed to ensure material which can be recycled and add value is not drawn to large scale residual waste treatment facilities. Therefore, it is envisaged that a banded series of levies will be applied to facilities based on capacity.

“In order to have the dissuasive effect required, those who process more, will pay more,“said the Minister.

The levies are also seen as a means of driving material away from landfill, in order to meet challenging EU targets.

“Levies are just part of a range of measures which will contribute to the development of a sustainable, resource-based waste management policy,” added the Minister.

In the coming weeks, Minister Gormley will be launching a consultation document which will set out the various elements being considered as part of the development of a new waste management policy for the country. As part of this process, he will prioritise engagement with the public on specific issues in the document including the management of biodegradable waste through the rollout of brown bins and home composting and the capping of the volume of material permitted to be sent for incineration.

“Waste, when viewed as a resource, has the potential to make a significant contribution to economic recovery through the development of a vibrant recycling sector using the most advanced technologies,” he said.

The proposals mean that a tonne of waste going to landfill will have a €75 levy by 2012 - however, that figure could increase.

Incinerators face a similarly significant hit - but larger facilities, which process more waste, will be compelled to pay more.

This strategy of a sliding scale of levies could pose a particular problem for Dublin's Poolbeg incinerator, with its massive 600,000 tonne capacity.

In addition, incinerators also face a cap - or limit - on the amount of waste they can accept.

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