Ireland is still sending too much waste to landfill and will not meet EU targets unless “substantive quantities” of residual waste is sent to energy recovery plants, a conference of town planners has been told.
PJ Rudden, president of Engineers Ireland, told the conference of the Royal Town Planning Institute a new national planning framework should recognise the urgent need to divert waste from landfill.
He said proposals in Dublin and Meath to divert 800,000 tonnes of waste per year away from landfill needed to be considered a “strategic national priority” if Ireland was to comply with the EU Waste Directive. Engineers Ireland “totally support the new resource based waste policy proposals put forward by Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan," he said.
Mr Rudden said this included giving ownership of waste to local authorities as well as the power to direct how the waste be treated.
Dublin City Council has already said the proposed Poolbeg incinerator will not be viable unless the Dublin local authorities own and control all the waste in the region.The council says it wants to stop collecting household bins, but it will need to have legal ownership of the waste collected by private operators and the right to determine the facility at which the waste will be disposed.
The council has for several years maintained the incinerator is viable, and that it has sufficient waste under its control to satisfy its contract with the plant developers – despite claims to the contrary by former Minister for the environment John Gormley and private waste companies.
The council is now the only local authority in the Dublin region still collecting household bins. It said it believes it should exit the market, but will need to have control of the waste collected by private operators across the Dublin region to make the incinerator “bankable”.
Des Cox, chairman of the Royal Town Planning Institute, said all parties in the waste and planning business working together in a co-ordinated manner “would go a long way to ensure a more timely and appropriate delivery of critical infrastructure.”
The RTPI is a global Planning Institute with some 25,000 members worldwide. Today’s conference in Dublin is being addressed by representatives of Eirgrid, the Irish Wind Energy Association and Bord Pleanála among others involved in strategic infrastructure development.