Friday 20 November 2009

New waste policies proposed

NEW WASTE management policies which would make the construction of large-scale incinerators redundant will be recommended in a report to be published today by Minister for the Environment John Gormley.

The policies, if implemented, could make the 600,000-tonne waste incinerator at Poolbeg, Dublin unviable. Following planning permission for the Poolbeg incinerator two years ago, Mr Gormley said he would commission an international review of waste policy in Ireland.

In mid-2008, European Environmental consultants Eunomia and Irish engineers Tobin were engaged to conduct the review. Their 1,200-page report with 24 recommendations on the management of waste and future policies will be published today.

Key recommendations include the introduction of levies on incineration, a increase in landfill levies of several multiples of the current €20 per tonne rate, new recycling targets, and the end of black bin-only waste services by insisting all waste collectors provide a segregated household collection service.

If the recommendations are implemented, the incinerator capacity planned for in Ireland would not be necessary to meet Ireland’s obligations under the EU landfill directive, the report said

The report also makes recommendations on the types of contracts which can be entered into between local authorities and waste management companies.

Contracts which require a local authority to supply to a waste facility levels of waste, which are not under its control to collect, should not be entered into. Contracts with waste collectors which direct to only bring waste to a specific facility are recommended against.

Dublin City Council has entered into a “put-or-pay” contract to provide the developers of the Poolbeg incinerator, Covanta/Dong, with 320,000 tonnes of waste annually or pay a penalty. It is not likely this contract could be altered by any new policy, but future waste contracts could not have put-or-pay clauses.

However, any attempt by the council to direct waste management companies to bring their waste to the Poolbeg incinerator could be resisted if the policy was introduced.

The Irish Waste Management Association has indicated its members do not intend to use Poolbeg and, if backed by Government policy, it is unlikely they would agree to supply the council facility.

Irish Times

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