Tuesday 4 March 2008

Planning refusal will 'compound waste crisis'

THE country's largest private waste collector has claimed that a decision by Bord Pleanála to turn down its plans for a controversial €20 million superdump will only compound the waste crisis facing the Munster region.

Greenstar had planned to build the superdump at Ballyguyroe, near the village of Kildorrery, in north Cork, which would be capable of handling 140,000 tonnes of waste a year.

The waste was to be imported from all over Munster.

The company had appealed a refusal by Cork County Council on March 26 last. Six months later Bord Pleanála held a three-day oral hearing into the project. Greenstar had already been granted a waste licence for the facility by Environmental Protection Agency.

Greenstar said the landfill had been intended to form a critical part of its integrated waste management infrastructure in the south of the country.

A company spokesman said it wanted to express its "disappointment and surprise" at the board's reason for refusing planning - which was that it is not satisfied there is a need for an additional landfill capacity to serve the Cork region or the counties. At the oral hearing in Mallow, the county council had argued that there was sufficient capacity in Cork and that it was preparing to open its own superdump near the village of Bottlehill - which would adequately handle the amount of waste generated in the county.

Greenstar again claimed yesterday that the Cork region is in the midst of a landfill capacity crisis.

A company spokesman said as a result, waste is being exported long distances for disposal and there have been recent cases of large-scale illegal dumping. "There is a short to medium term need for 200,000 tonnes per annum landfill capacity in the Cork region alone. In addition, and even taking the proposed landfill facility at Bottlehill into account, the Munster region has a need for 300,000 tonnes per annum of landfill capacity," said the Greenstar spokesman.

He reiterated claims that the county council's Bottlehill landfill will only be allowed to accept pre-treated and baled waste, and therefore will not be able to open until a baling facility is developed. He claimed this could take another four to seven years.

Greenstar said the decision only further compounded the landfill capacity crisis in Munster. "The proposed landfill facility at Ballyguyroe is intended to provide a short-term solution to the impending waste crisis in Cork and a secure outlet to meet the long-term residual disposal needs of Munster," the spokesman said.

An Bord Pleanála said it decided to refuse permission because it was not satisfied that Greenstar had demonstrated the need for additional landfill capacity to serve the Cork region or adjoining counties.

The board decided that the need for the landfill had not been adequately demonstrated, and would be contrary to the national waste policy as set out in the directives Changing Our Ways (1998), Waste Management: Taking Stock and Moving Forward (2004) and the National Strategy for Biodegradable Waste (2004).

These directives all seek to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill in accordance with the principles of the EU Landfill Directive, where landfill disposal is the least favoured option.

Cork County Council said it welcomed the decision, which it said upheld the local authority's arguments.

Sean O'Riordan
Irish Examiner


No comments: