DUBLIN'S rubbish could be sent to Meath to be burnt following a decision yesterday which gives the go-ahead for the massive expansion of a controversial incinerator and allows it to take in waste from outside the county.
Indaver has plans for another plant in Co Cork, and between both could process 400,000 tonnes of waste a year.
The Poolbeg plant is designed to handle up to 700,000 tonnes of waste a year, and a decision on whether it will go-ahead is expected by the end of the month.
An Bord Pleanala yesterday approved an increase in the Indaver Ireland plant, which will allow it process 200,000 tonnes of household rubbish a year instead of the 150,000 tonnes approved earlier.
The decision was greeted with dismay by objectors, with the Labour Party saying it gave Indaver "carte blanche" to burn rubbish from other regions which would turn Meath into a "dumping ground for Dublin".
Green party councillor Mark Dearey accused the board of taking "no account" of Minister Gormley's opposition to incineration, while Fine Gael claimed that local roads could not handle the increased volume of traffic that would arise.
The No Incineration Alliance, which includes local residents, said it was a "great disappointment" that it was approved, adding it would continue to oppose incineration.
The planning board's decision includes 31 conditions, the most significant of which allows Indaver to accept waste from other counties in the North East region.
But the so-called 'proximity principle' also clears the way for the Meath plant to take waste from the capital. But Dublin City Council said there was "no plan" to bring the capital's waste to Meath.
Yesterday, CEO of Indaver Ireland, John Ahern, said work would begin on the €100m plant next year with a view to opening for business in 2011.
A review of waste management policy to be undertaken next year would explore alternatives to incineration including mechanical and biological treatment (MBT) and other technologies.
However, another seven incinerators are planned for Ireland, including the Poolbeg proposal. A spokesman for Environment Minister John Gormley said last night that he had no statutory power to interfere with the granting of planning permission to incinerators -- even though a queue of heat treatment plants are already in the process. He admitted there could be an over-supply of incinerators if all the planned establishments were built, since An Bord Pleanala is independent of the political process.