Friday 6 November 2009

IRELAND’S LARGEST waste management companies have told the operators of the planned Poolbeg incinerator in Dublin that the project is “ill conceived” and they are unlikely to supply waste to it.

In a letter yesterday to the companies contracted to build and run the incinerator on behalf of Dublin City Council, the Irish Waste Management Association (IWMA) said the facility as planned was “grossly oversized”.

In its letter, seen by The Irish Times , the association said the capacity of the facility as envisaged would be completely out of line with the projections for residual waste available in the Dublin region.

“As such, the vast majority of IWMA members are unlikely to make use of the facility if constructed especially as our members have indicated that they have sufficient capacity within their own facilities to treat current and future arisings,” the letter said.

A spokesman for Minister for the Environment John Gormley, who was sent a copy of the letter, said the Minister shared the association’s conclusions.

Mr Gormley has campaigned against the 600,000-tonne capacity incinerator, which is in his constituency and is due to open in 2012.

The Minister is to publish his international review of waste management policy in two weeks, and this is expected to recommend limits on waste going to landfill or incineration.

In its letter to incinerator consortium companies Covanta and Dong, the IWMA mentions a legal action it said is likely to result in local authorities losing their control of household waste collection.

This refers to a High Court case taken by Greenstar and Panda against a decision by Dublin City Council to change the existing waste permit system to designate a specific contractor to collect all household waste in the city, rather than allow a number of operators to do the work. A decision in the case is pending.

Assistant city manger Séamus Lyons yesterday said the incinerator would go ahead and suggested that the IWMA wanted to continue taking waste to landfill.

“Dublin City Council is satisfied that the Dublin Waste to Energy plant is needed to achieve maximum recycling and minimum landfill in the Dublin region. The IWMA members appear to be wedded to landfill, which is environmentally the least sustainable option for Dublin’s waste,” he said in a statement.

The London-based spokespeople for the contractors could not be contacted yesterday.

The plant, which would be one of the largest municipal waste incinerators in Europe, was granted a licence from the Environmental Protection Agency last December following the receipt of planning permission from An Bord Pleanála in November 2007.

Irish Times

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