Wednesday 17 October 2007

Permission to expand Meath incinerator sparks outrage

ANTI-INCINERATION groups have criticised An Bord Pleanála’s decision yesterday to grant permission to Indaver Ireland to increase the size of its Co Meath incinerator by a third.

Following yesterday’s decision, the plant at Carronstown can now cater for 200,000 tonnes of waste per year — instead of 150,000 tonnes. Indaver says the waste-to-energy plant will generate enough energy for 19,000 homes.

Anti-incineration campaigners and opposition parties have warned that Meath is about to become Dublin’s “dumping ground” as in its conditions, An Bord Pleanála said that Indaver can take waste from outside the north-east.

However, Dublin City Council last night issued a statement saying it “will need to find its own solution to its waste problem” and that it has no plan to ship Dublin’s waste to Co Meath.

The No Incineration Alliance said the decision rendered the Programme for Government useless while their Cork-based counterparts, Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment (CHASE), said the decision “flew in the face of government declarations that incineration is no longer the cornerstone of Irish Waste Management Policy”.

“The Programme for Government states the cornerstone of a waste management strategy will be based on reduction, re-use and recycling, with the introduction of brown bins, pay by weight and the investigation of technologies such as MBT (mechanical biological treatment). The only mention of incineration in the Programme for Government is to note that there will be no introduction of a landfill levy,” said the alliance’s Aine Walsh.

Indaver welcomed the move saying the project was one of the most scrutinised planning proposals in the history of the State.

“Two Bord Pleanála rulings, two High Court rulings, a Supreme Court ruling and an EPA licensing ruling have all found in favour of the project,” a spokesman said. Construction of the incinerator is due to begin next year.

Sinn Féin environment spokesman Martin Ferris accused Environment Minister John Gormley of taking a NIMBY (not in my back yard) approach to incineration.

“It’s clear the minister was talking about the incinerators in Meath and Cork, and not the one in his own constituency, when he spoke last week of the State needing to burn 400,000 tonnes of rubbish as this will now be the combined capacity of the Meath and Cork plants,” he said.

The Labour Party’s East Meath Senator, Dominic Hannigan, said “government waste management policy is in complete disarray. Before the general election the Green Party were vehemently against incineration but now they are accepting incineration will continue to be a part of Ireland’s answer to waste disposal”.

CHASE opposes the construction of a 100,000 tonne toxic waste incinerator and 100,000 tonne municipal waste incinerator at Ringaskiddy. Planning, which applies only to the toxic waste incinerator, is being appealed. Their case against the toxic waste division will be heard at the High Court at the end of the month.

Irish Examiner

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