Wednesday 17 February 2010

Waste contracts worth millions to be offered to private landfill operators

WASTE CONTRACTS worth tens of millions of euro are to be offered to private landfill operators by the four Dublin local authorities when the last Dublin regional landfill closes at the end of this year.

Almost all residual household waste collected in Dublin will be in the hands of private waste companies following the closure of the landfill at Arthurstown, near Kill, Co Kildare, next December.

The landfill, which accepts 600,000 tonnes of municipal waste per annum was due to close in 2007. An Bord Pleanála granted an extension of the facility until December 21st, 2010, but no further deposits of household waste will be permitted after this date.

It was initially envisaged there would be a short time lag between the closure of Arthurstown and the opening of the Poolbeg incinerator, and that during this period waste would be sent to the planned landfill at Nevitt, near Lusk, a Fingal local authority area.

However, while the Lusk facility was granted planning permission last year following protracted Bord Pleanála hearings on the case held on three occasions over two years, it still has not been granted an operating licence from the Environmental Protection Agency. The Poolbeg incinerator will not be operational until 2013 at the earliest. and the region’s local authorities have no other facilities to deal with household waste under their control.

They are now in a position where they will have run out of landfill space at the end of the year, and apart from small amounts of capacity in neighbouring county council landfill facilities, they will have to seek tenders from the private sector to deal with waste.

Dublin City Council has in the last week advertised for interested parties to enter into talks on the processing of up to 350,000 tonnes of waste annually.

While contracts have not yet been put out to tender, a source close to the council has said they are likely to be worth tens of millions of euro for the three years until the Poolbeg incinerator is scheduled to open.

The Irish Waste Management Association (IWMA), which is opposed to the Poolbeg incinerator, has several landfill operators, including Greenstar one of the largest private landfill operators in the region, within its membership. A spokesman for the IWMA said last night that the decision on whether to tender for any new contracts was a matter for the individual members.

However, he said: “Just as Dublin City Council expects that private industry can provide a short-term solution to this waste issue it is plain and obvious that industry can supply a long-term solution also.

“This, again, highlights the fact that the Poolbeg incinerator is simply too large for the Dublin region and is possibly unnecessary.”

Greenstar could not provide a spokesperson yesterday.

Irish Times

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