Tuesday, 12 February 2019
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
Hazardous Waste Removal
My Department assumed responsibility for remediation works at Haulbowline Island on behalf of the Government in 2012. The particular focus has been on bringing about compliance with the terms of a European Court of Justice judgment under the waste framework directive concerning the East Tip site. Funding for the remediation project is provided to my Department, in accordance with the specific conditions set out by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, on an annual basis up to the completion date of the remediation works.
The East Tip works are the most significant element of the remediation project. In the period up to 2017, expenditure was focused on preparing for and securing the necessary planning and waste licence consents for the East Tip and upgrading the island infrastructure in anticipation of works. Following the signing of contracts in July 2017, the remediation of the East Tip commenced and, in December 2018, I visited the site to see that the works had been substantially completed. Some minor finishing works on the site are to be completed early this year. The access road leading into the site is also being upgraded and this is scheduled for completion by the end of April 2019.
While the priority has been remediation of the East Tip, work on assessing a suitable solution for the former steelworks factory site has also been advanced in preparation for the next phase of the remediation project. Detailed site investigations have been undertaken and the preparation of an application for planning consent has also been advanced.
The Government has decided that the Minister for Defence will be the ultimate owner of Haulbowline Island, in keeping with the Naval Service being headquartered on the island. Any remediation solution for these areas will need to be cognisant of their likely long-term use. Information from site investigation studies and assessments to date has been made available to the Department of Defence to assist in this work.
Cork County Council has expressed a desire to open a public park at the East Tip site after works are complete. In the meantime, the council continues to act as agent for my Department in carrying out the operational tasks to deliver the remediation project. There has been close co-operation with the naval base to minimise any impacts on its operations arising from the works. The council has also worked to keep neighbours and stakeholders in the area briefed on the status of the works.