Wednesday 17 January 2018

€20m cost of spreading Dublin waste around

Treacy Hogan Environment Correspondent

DUBLIN'S rubbish is to be sent to landfill sites around the country at a cost of €20m to taxpayers because the capital's dumps are now full.

The hold-up in building the incinerator at Poolbeg was last night blamed for the deepening waste crisis, as Environment Minister John Gormley continues to oppose the project in his constituency.

The extra cost to taxpayers of sending the rubbish by trucks to dumps in as many as 10 other counties will be as much as €20m over the next 12 months, the Irish Independent has learnt.

Dublin City Council last night confirmed the landfills in its area are now completely full, and the council is now being forced to send all of its rubbish to dumps in Cavan and Kildare, but can extend this to Limerick, Galway, Offaly, Wicklow, Carlow, Louth, Monaghan, and Meath. From the end of December there will be no more landfill space available in the Dublin region for waste collected by Dublin City Council and South Dublin County Council.

The two local authorities have initially awarded contracts to Oxygen and Bord na Mona to dispose of the household and commercial waste in landfills in Cavan and Kildare.

The Dublin Waste Plan envisaged that the Poolbeg incinerator would be up and running by now, so that no household waste from the Dublin region would have to go to landfill.

It was all to be thermally treated, generating energy and providing district heating as well as creating 100 jobs.

Private waste company Oxygen will treat up to 25,000 tonnes of the waste collected by the two Dublin local authorities between January and June next year. Bord na Mona has been awarded a similar six-month contract and will dispose of up to 120,000 tonnes of waste.

It had been planned that all non-recyclable waste in Dublin would be sent to the Poolbeg incinerator.

The waste was to have generated energy for up to 80,000 homes and district heating for another 50,000 homes.

Mr Gormley has come under fire from Covanta, the company involved in the Poolbeg project, for refusing to issue a foreshore licence. The incinerator has already been approved by his own department, the Environmental Protection Agency, An Bord Pleanala, the Commission for Energy Regulation, the Department of Finance and the National Development Finance Agency as good value for money.

The Dublin Waste Plan aims to recycle 59pc of Dublin's waste, thermally treat 25pc at the Poolbeg incinerator and only landfill the remaining 16pc.

Last night a spokesman for Mr Gormley said the move to send the waste outside Dublin only showed the council had "failed" to deliver essential services for the city.

"The fact that Dublin has to contract out for waste disposal is a clear indication that the councils' waste management plans have failed to deliver the infrastructure required to deal with the waste," he said.

"It should be noted that the vast bulk of the capital's waste has been disposed of outside of Dublin for more than a decade in the Kill landfill in Kildare, and it is of course disappointing to see that the council is continuing this policy."

Irish Independent

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