€270m waste plant which caused a stink is 'urgent'

Tim Healy

A €270m extension of the Ringsend waste water treatment plant is urgent and "of critical importance" to the economic revival of Dublin and the State, the Commercial Court heard.

The State has given undertakings to the EU Commission concerning the date by which the Ringsend plant will comply with the Urban Waste Water Treatment Works Directive. Any further delays in upgrading its capacity could lead to fines, Dublin City Council said when opposing a residents' group challenge to the works.

Owen McManus, senior engineer with the council, said the existing Ringsend plant was built in 2003 to cater for a population of 1.64m in the greater Dublin region but is now trying to cope with average daily waste intake for 1.8m. The planned extension will provide capacity for 2.1m, he said.

Some works have begun and are urgent on grounds including the application of time restrictions to address concerns relating to the feeding grounds of Brent geese, the court was told.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly yesterday granted an application by James Connolly for the council to fast-track the challenge by the Sandymount and Merrion Residents Association to the €270m works. The transfer application was consented to by all parties involved.

The court will first decide two preliminary issues prior to any full hearing of the case.

The council contends the residents group, as an unincorporated entity, is not entitled to bring such an action. Secondly, it says, the case should be struck out on grounds the residents' group failed to disclose, when seeking an interim injunction halting any works, that some works had already begun.