Tuesday 25 September 2007

Monopoly feared in waste war

A number of Dublin's private waste management companies have accused Dublin City Council of attempting to push them out of the market so it can fulfil a multi-million euro agreement to supply waste paper for a planned incinerator.

Dublin City Council -- which entered into a deal to provide 320,000 tonnes of waste per year to the proposed incineration plant in Poolbeg, Co Dublin -- is planning to make changes to the area's waste management plan which would see the council gaining greater control over the final destination of Dublin's waste.

Now private waste collectors Panda, Greenstar and City Bin have attributed the proposal to a deal between the four Dublin councils and the incinerator company. They say they are ready to take legal action if Dublin City Council goes ahead with the proposed modifications.

Eamon Waters, managing director of the Panda waste collection service, says the council wants to "wipe out" competition and they have threatened to go to the European Court if the council proceeds with its plans.

"[The council are] doing it purely for the incineration plant. They have committed a certain amount of tonnes to incineration and if the private sector take the waste off them, they won't have the waste to go there."

Steve Cowman, chief executive of Greenstar, also maintains that the new proposals will lead to a monopoly.

"The Department of Environment in their green paper last year highlighted the fact that there was an issue where the local authorities competed in the waste business and regulated that business. So they're basically trying to use their powers to effectively monopolise the market."

Niall Killilea, managing director of the City Bin Co, has labelled the recent proposals a "fiasco".

"The proposal to change the Dublin Waste Management Plan . . . could lead to the crazy scenario where the council itself is tendering for the collection contract and are, at the same time, the people who decide who wins it."

However, Dublin City Council claims that a free-for-all is emerging in the Dublin Household Waste Collection market which puts at serious risk the attainment of the ambitious targets for the reduction, re-use and recycling in the Dublin Waste Plan.

Irish Independent

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