DUBLIN CITY Council has been accused of altering the terms of waste collection permits with the aim of directing household and commercial waste to the proposed municipal incinerator at Poolbeg.
The Irish Waste Management Association (IWMA), which claims to represent 95 per cent of Ireland’s private waste management sector in Ireland, may take legal action against the council to have the new terms dropped.
Leading firm of solicitors AL Goodbody wrote to the council earlier this month claiming its move was contrary to the Waste Management Plan for the Dublin Region 2005-2010 and the Waste Management Regulations of 2007 and 2008.
The disputed clause specifies that a permit holder “shall ensure that all, or such specified proportion, of waste . . . is delivered to . . . such facilities or types of facilities so designated by the relevant local authority” in each functional area.
The IWMA claims this is designed by the council to “direct more waste to facilities it owns or has a financial interest in, such as the proposed Poolbeg incinerator”, which is being planned as a public-private partnership project.
According to the association, it was inserted into a waste collection permit granted last month to Veolia Environmental Services (Ireland) Ltd, of Ballymount Cross, Tallaght, a subsidiary of the French conglomerate Veolia, which also runs Luas.
In a letter to Minister for the Environment John Gormley, the IWMA claimed that the new clause “could restrict competition, cost consumers more and presents a clear conflict of interest for the council as both a regulator and market participant”.
One of its members, Panda Waste Services, is challenging the council’s decision to alter the existing waste permit regime, under which several private firms operate, to one where collection is carried out by either by the council or by a single firm appointed by it.
Waste collection permits for private companies are renewable every five years by the city council, acting as the region’s licensing authority, in line with the regional waste management plan, which also covers Fingal, South Dublin and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown.
The plan allows for permits to dictate which types of waste should be sent to a particular tier in the “waste hierarchy” – for example recycling, recovery (incineration) or disposal (landfill), all prioritised on the basis of environmental sustainability.
The IWMA insists the new terms “reserve the right for the council to designate which specific facilities the waste should be directed to”.
Jim Kells, the association’s chairman, said this “can only be with the Poolbeg incinerator in mind. It is the only facility the council has such a critical commercial interest in.”
Dublin City Council did not provide a reaction yesterday.