Tuesday 25 September 2007

EPA issues proposed decision on landfill at Lusk, Co Dublin

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced details of its Proposed Decision to grant a licence to Fingal County Council to develop an engineered landfill facility and public recycling facility at Nevitt, Lusk, County Dublin.

The proposed decision provides for the development of an engineered landfill with a maximum annual intake of 500,000 tonnes of non-hazardous residual waste and an associated public recycling facility.

Residual waste, in the context of landfill, is waste that has been subjected to pre-treatment (including pre-segregation, mechanical-biological treatment and energy recovery) to extract the recyclable/reusable components and energy benefit.

The proposed decision contains more than 130 individual conditions relating to the environmental management, operation, control and monitoring of the proposed facility.

The EPA is satisfied that emissions from the landfill, when operated in accordance with the conditions of the proposed licence, will not adversely affect human health or the environment and will meet all relevant national and EU standards.

Conditions imposed include the following requirements -

* Only residual waste (i.e. waste which has been pre-treated) may be landfilled at the facility;
* The installation of a lining system, in line with EU specified standards;
* Strict controls on all emissions to be put in place;
* The collection and treatment of leachate generated at the landfill;
* The collection and treatment of landfill gases with possibility for generation of electricity through combustion of the gas;
* The completion of a wide range of environmental monitoring and assessment on an ongoing basis - both throughout the life of the landfill and after closure.

The EPA's Office of Environmental Enforcement will monitor and enforce these conditions through environmental audits, unannounced site visits and systematic checks on emissions.

The licence application
The licence application - register number W0231-01 - sought permission for the operation of an engineered landfill and recycling facility at the site. The EPA received the licence application on 5th July, 2006. Further information was sought from the applicant and was received by the EPA, completing the application, on 28th June, 2007.

The EPA has considered the application and supporting documentation, including an Environmental Impact Statement received from the applicant, 105 valid submissions received from other parties and the report of its inspector.

Next steps
There now follows a 28-day public consultation period in which objections or requests for oral hearings can be lodged with the EPA by any person or body - including the applicant. In this case, the period ends on 17th October, 2007 and objections should be directed to EPA Headquarters, PO Box 3000, Johnstown Castle Estate, Co Wexford.

As the EPA can only consider objections received before the period ends, it is essential that an objection be made to the EPA in good time. The objection procedures are set out in Regulations - and details of these can be found on the EPA website - Click Here

As this is the first step in a statutory licensing process - and, in view of the fact that the objection period has now commenced - the EPA is not in a position to comment further on the proposed decision.

All the documentation received by the EPA - including the application, Environmental Impact Statement, third party submissions, proposed decision and inspector's reports are available on the EPA website - Click Here The waste licence application number is W0231-01.

How the licensing process works -

1. Given the complexity and scale of some waste activities, the EPA provides pre-application clarification and consultation, so that applications are as complete as possible.
2. Once received, the application is rigorously assessed by a team of experts from the EPA's Office of Climate, Licensing and Resource Use.
3. Extra information may be required from the applicant during this assessment.
4. When the application is deemed complete and has been fully assessed, the EPA's Office of Climate, Licensing and Resource Use makes a recommendation on the application to the Board of Directors of the EPA.
5. The Board assesses the recommendation - together with the application and all submissions - before making a decision.
6. The Board's decision - in the form of a Proposed Decision (PD) - is notified to the applicant, all third parties who made a submission on the application and other statutory consultees.
7. There follows a 28-day period when any person can submit an objection and request an oral hearing. They can also make submissions on other objections.
8. All objections and submissions on objections are considered by a Technical Committee of the EPA or through an oral hearing process.
9. Should the EPA decide to hold an oral hearing, any person who lodged a valid objection - as well as the applicant - has an automatic right to attend and participate fully at a hearing.
All hearings are open to the public. Members of the public can participate in the proceedings where they have lodged a valid objection or with the express approval of the Chairperson.
10. On completion of an oral hearing, the Chairperson will submit a report of the hearing to the EPA. In this report, the Chairperson must make a recommendation to grant or refuse a licence.
Where the recommendation is to grant a licence, the Chairperson must outline the recommended conditions to be attached to the licence.
11. The recommendations arising - together with the objections and submissions - are considered by the Board of Directors before making a final decision to either refuse a licence or to grant a licence with or without conditions.

The EPA is debarred in law from granting a waste licence unless it is satisfied that the activity concerned - carried out in accordance with such conditions as may be attached to a licence - will not cause environmental pollution.

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