Wednesday 21 July 2010

Authority rejects Poolbeg complaints

The Competition Authority has rejected a number of complaints by the Irish Waste Management Authority (IWMA) about the planned incinerator at Poolbeg in Dublin.

Dublin City Council said the Competition Authority had confirmed that 'there is no breach of Irish competition law' in relation to the Dublin Waste to Energy plant at Poolbeg. Four complaints made "have been rejected in their entirety by the Competition Authority,” the council said.

The IWMA said that the authority had stated 'one complaint merited further investigation at this time, one complaint was a matter for the EU Commission to consider further, three complaints raised future anti-competitive threats', one complaint was upheld, two complaints required further information for the authority to proceed further and one complaint 'did not give rise to competition concerns'.

The four main complaints rejected include -

* that the council and Dublin Waste to Energy Ltd entered into arrangements that could amount to a concerted practice in breach of the Competition Act;
* that the two bodies could engage in abuse of a dominant position to engage in predatory pricing for waste treatment;
* that the public-private partnership amounted to a State aid in breach of European law - and
* that there was a price-fixing arrangement in breach of the Competition Act.

The IWMA said that, with regard to some of the complaints, the Competition Authority “acknowledges that it does not have enough information to proceed further at this stage”.

A spokesman for Minister for the Environment John Gormley said - “We weren’t a party to the complaints, so we haven’t received the response at this stage”.

Dublin City Council assistant manager Séamus Lyons said - “We are delighted that the Competition Authority is the latest statutory agency to confirm that the Poolbeg Waste to Energy plant is fully within the law. It is also in line with best practice.”

Mr Lyons said the IWMA did not object to the Poolbeg plant in the 10 years it was going through the statutory processes, “when they had plenty of opportunity to make their views known.

"It is only since 2007 that the IWMA has sought, at every turn, to stop Dubliners from having the most innovative waste management system on a par with the best in Europe, with maximum recycling and minimum waste going to landfill.”

The Irish Times

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