Written answers

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Hazardous Waste Removal

Photo of Michael McGrathMichael McGrath (Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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447. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the funding that has been committed to the clean-up of Haulbowline Island, County Cork; the amount that has been spent to date; the amount provided for in the 2018 estimates; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22109/18]

Photo of Michael CreedMichael Creed (Cork North West, Fine Gael)
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My Department was originally tasked with taking responsibility for the submission of an application to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regularise the licensing status of the East Tip of Haulbowline Island in relation to the hazardous waste deposited on this site.  The requirement for a waste licence at the East Tip arises from the outstanding measures necessary to comply with the judgement of the Court of Justice of the European Union dated 26 April 2005 in Case C-494/01.  To ensure that there were no legal obstacles to the Department undertaking the project, ownership of Haulbowline Island was formally transferred at Ministerial level in October 2013. The scope of the remediation was later extended by Government to include ground level remediation of the former steelworks factory site including the area of the island known as the South Tip. The Government approved a total ring-fenced budget of €61m for all costs associated with remediation of Haulbowline Island.

Funding for the remediation of the Haulbowline Island is ring-fenced in my Department’s Vote for this specific purpose and the remit of my Department relates only to the remediation of the island. 

Cork County Council is appointed as my agent for the operational delivery of the remediation project.  Cork County Council has a project office commissioned for managing the Haulbowline Island Remediation Project, which includes the East Tip, South Tip and steelworks sites. 

My Department assumed responsibility for remediation works at Haulbowline Island in 2012. In the period up to 2017 expenditure was focussed on preparing for and securing the necessary planning and waste licence consents and upgrading the island infrastructure (bridge and access road) in anticipation of works.  The funding is being provided through my Department’s vote, 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 total expenditure incurred by the Department (including expenditure commissioned by Cork County Council acting as agents for the project and reimbursed through the Department) to the end of 2017 is just over €13m. 

The Revised Estimates for Public Services allocates €10m to the project for 2018.  The expenditure incurred in 2018 will be influenced by the nature of risks which may arise in remediation works on a site with a legacy as complex as Haulbowline Island.  While the works and contractual arrangements have been designed to achieve cost-effective remediation, it is not possible at this point to be definitive about the final costs.  The works being carried out on site include marine elements to prevent tidal incursions to the site, access and infrastructure works and capping the waste materials to render the site safe, stable and suitable for future uses.  To date, I am advised that works are progressing well on the East Tip and are expected to be concluded in December 2018.


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