Dáil debates

Thursday, 19 November 2009


Waste Management.

5:00 pm

Photo of Chris AndrewsChris Andrews (Dublin South East, Fianna Fail)

I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak on the Adjournment and I welcome the presence of the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. Since it was first proposed, both the Minister and I have vigorously opposed the proposal to locate an incinerator at Poolbeg in Dublin. One does not need to be an engineer to see that it does not make any sense to put an incinerator in what is effectively a large cul-de-sac.

The proposed Poolbeg incinerator, which will be Dublin's first municipal waste incinerator and one of the largest such facilities in Europe, was granted planning permission by An Bord Pleanála in November 2007. In December of last year, the proposed facility was granted a licence by the EPA. The concerns of the local community about this facility are well known, with over 3000 objections registered with An Bord Pleanála.

This week, the Irish Waste Management Association, IWMA, which represents almost 95% of private waste management collections in Ireland, released the findings of an independent report commissioned to examine the need for the proposed waste incinerator at Poolbeg. The results of this report make worrying reading and reinforce the Minister's own point that this facility could end up costing the taxpayer up to €18 million per year over the next 20 years. We must ask ourselves what we are thinking of in allowing the local authority to impose this extra tariff on the taxpayers of this country.

The proposed plant has capacity to treat almost 600,000 tonnes of waste. Under the current contract, which was negotiated by Dublin City Council, the State is required to supply 320,000 tonnes of waste annually to the plant. If this is not reached, the State will be charged almost €90 for every tonne not supplied. The council has said it is taking the long view, but by the time this incinerator reaches its capacity of 600,000 tonnes it is likely, given the considerable progress in research, that new technology will be in place.

The cost to the State of not supplying waste is a deterrent to recycling and composting. Its is also potentially anti-competitive to allow one operator to have such control over the market, and it could prove very costly to the taxpayer if these targets are not met. Having to transport waste from the rest of the country to fill the incinerator would, in environmental terms, be robbing Peter to pay Paul, and would negatively offset any proposed benefits.

I have made my opposition to the incinerator well known, and this report further compounds my concerns. I do not believe Poolbeg is the correct location for a facility of this size and scale. The increased traffic flow into the region will cause further congestion in an area that is already at saturation point. It is similar to a car park in the mornings and evenings. Dublin Bay itself is an area of high conservation importance and is legally protected under both the EU habitats directive and the EU birds directive. Specific sites of conservation importance include the Liffey and Tolka Estuaries and Sandymount Strand, all immediately adjacent to the proposed development. The incinerator is bound to have a negative impact on these amenities.

The Minister is committed to reviewing the capacity of the incinerator. If the capacity is found to be incorrect, I urge the Minister to make the appropriate changes and reconsider the future of the plant.


Galway Tent
Posted on 4 Dec 2009 8:48 pm (Report this comment)

How many times has TD Andrews *voted against* the Poolbeg waste-to-toxins incinerator?

Log in or join to post a public comment.