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Friday 22 September 2017

Gormley inherited double headache

Ailish O'Hora

Ailish O'Hora

THE Poolbeg incinerator poses a double headache for Environment Minister John Gormley.

The longtime opponent of incineration inherited the plan from his predecessor Dick Roche -- and the 13.6-acre plant is in his constituency of Dublin South East. The deal to build it was signed just ahead of the 2007 general election, after which Mr Gormley became Environment Minister.

But the Green Party leader told the Irish Independent that he could cap the amount of waste processed at the Poolbeg plant once it was up and running under existing waste management legislation.

Mr Gormley added that he was also moving ahead with his plans to appoint an examination into Poolbeg.

"The implications for the taxpayer have to be considered as well as the impact on waste policy," he said. Mr Gormley also said he was "actively" considering a cap of 300,000 tonnes per annum at the plant.

The Waste Management Act allows the minister to give policy directions to each local authority.

It also gives the minister powers over the granting of waste licences.

"Capacity is the issue here and this enormous facility is for 600,000 tonnes. It makes sense to impose a cap of no more than 300,000 tonnes," he said. "Given the economic climate and greater awareness of recycling, people and businesses are cutting costs and the amount of residual waste is going to decrease.

"We can see this happening already and in the UK plans for incinerators that have been in the pipeline for decades are being scrapped."

In December, Surrey County Council dropped plans for two new incinerators because of a decline in waste.

Irish Independent

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