Sunday 30 May 2010

Locals 'horrified' at granting of licence for Lusk landfill

A 300,000-TONNE capacity regional landfill near Lusk in north Dublin, in which one-sixth of the county’s waste will be dumped, has been granted a waste licence by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The licence for the landfill, one of the most contested developments ever proposed for the region, is subject to more than 250 conditions relating to environmental management operation, control and monitoring.

The EPA held two public hearings on the development and said the conditions take into account concerns expressed at those hearings. However, local residents opposing the development said they were “horrified” by the decision, which they have referred to the European Commission and the European Petitions Committee.

The EPA yesterday said it was satisfied that operation of the facility in line with conditions of the licence would not adversely affect human health or the environment, and would meet all relevant national and EU standards.

The conditions, it said, impose “strict controls” on all facility emissions. They require that leachate – contaminated landfill liquid – be collected and treated to prevent contamination of soil and ground water. Odour management infrastructure must be installed and all waste must be pre-treated so only residual waste is dumped.

Strict monitoring will be required, the EPA said, particularly in relation to ground water, which will be monitored throughout the life of the landfill and after its closure in 30 years.

The licence granted to Fingal County Council would allow 500,000 tonnes of waste to be dumped annually at the landfill, but the planning permission for the plant, granted by An Bord Pleanála last year, restricts the intake to 300,000 tonnes a year.

Nevitt Lusk Action Group,which objected to both the EPA and An Bord Pleanála against the development, said the facility was unnecessary and would destroy a valuable ground water resource.

“We’re not surprised by the EPA decision, but we’re still absolutely horrified by the Government and Government agency’s lack of foresight in allowing this to go ahead,” group spokeswoman Gemma Larkin said.

Since Fingal had applied for the facility, Dublin City Council had been granted permission for the Poolbeg incinerator, which would take the waste intended for the landfill, Ms Larkin said. The landfill would also destroy ground-water essential to the horticulture industry in the area, she said.

Local Green Party TD Trevor Sargent said the EPA decision was based on outdated policies.

A spokeswoman for Fingal said the council was considering the conditions and sub-conditions in the waste licence, and intended to proceed with the development.

Irish Times

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