independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Poolbeg money up in smoke

FINGAL COUNCIL HAS SPENT €17M ON INCINERATOR PROJECT

HAVING already wasted a staggering €33 million on a cancelled 'super-dump' project, Fingal County Council could see another €17 million go up in smoke on a controversial incinerator project at Poolbeg that has come to all but a grinding halt.

A new Local Government Audit Service Report into the controversial Poolbeg Incinerator project has revealed that up to the end of 2011, Fingal County Council had contributed over €14 million to the project and according to the council's own capital programme, a further €2.9 million was spent on the incinerator proposal in 2012. But the project, which will cost some €400 million if completed, has stalled after a series of false starts and missed deadlines and its very future was thrown into serious doubt this year after the American company in the consortium behind the project admitted that it is having difficulty raising cash in the current economic circumstances. HAVING ALREADY wasted a staggering €33 million on a 'superdump' project that was never built, Fingal County Council have now shelled out €17 million on another waste management project with a very uncertain future. A Local Government Audit Service Report into the controversial Poolbeg Incinerator project has revealed that up to the end of 2011, Fingal County Council had contributed over €14 million to the project and according to the council's own capital programme, a further €2.9 million was spent on the incinerator in 2012. A further €1.3 million has been earmarked by the council for spending on the project over the next three years taking the total bill to over €18 million by 2015. But the project, which will cost some €400 million if completed, has had a series of false starts and missed deadlines and is now in serious doubt after the American company in the consortium behind the project admitted that it is having difficulty raising cash in the current economic circumstances. In June of 2012, the American company, Covanta's Chief Financial Officer, speaking at a JP Morgan conference in the US said that it was proving difficult to raise the necessary capital to fund the Poolbeg incinerator. On August 31, the contract for the Poolbeg incinerator with Covanta expired and there is no sign of progress on the construction phase of the controversial project. With this project in doubt and the Nevitt superdump cancelled at a cost of some €33 million, the waste management plan for the whole Dublin region is in tatters. Recently, county manager, David O'Connor admitted as much saying that the 'whole shooting match' had to be reviewed and a new waste management plan for the Dublin region drawn up. Mr O'Connor informed councillors at this month's meeting of the full council that there will be a wholesale review of the plan in the coming months after an evaluation of the current plan determined it should be replaced. The four Dublin local authorities commissioned RPS Consulting Engineers Ltd to prepare an evaluation report of the existing 2005 Waste Plan. The conclusion of the report based on a number of factors, is that the waste plan should be replaced. An executive order has been made accepting the recommendations of the evaluation report and approving the making of a new plan.

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