irishtimes.com - Last Updated: Wednesday, June 22, 2011, 16:07
FRANK MCDONALD, Environment Editor
Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan will not be intervening to prevent the Poolbeg incinerator going ahead, even though Dublin City Council would face “very substantial” penalties if it failed to provide sufficient municipal waste to fuel it over 25 years.
The confirmation of the council’s exposure to penalties came in a report prepared by John Hennessy SC for Mr Hogan’s predecessor, former Green Party leader John Gormley, which the Minister has now released in a heavily redacted form.
Although he said he was publishing it “in the interests of openness and transparency”, all references to the scale of the financial penalties and other crucial aspects of the contract between the council and its American partners, Covanta, have been deleted.
Mr Hogan said that he “had to redact commercially sensitive aspects, thereby respecting the confidential nature of certain information which was provided to Mr Hennessy to assist him in compiling his report” - including information provided by Covanta itself.
Mr Hennessy had been appointed by the former Minister as an “authorised person” under section 224 of the 2001 Local Government Act 2001, to examine potential financial risks associated with the project within a given set of scenarios.
The report concluded that termination or variation of the Poolbeg contract would “give rise to significant financial cost” for the city council and that trends in waste management and recycling was also likely to make it “very expensive” for the council.
“The scenarios envisaged under the terms of reference for this report tend to suggest that DCC may well be paying, for a considerable period of time, for the processing of significantly more waste than it is able to deliver to the facility”, Mr Hennessy wrote.
Commenting on his 92-page report, Mr Hogan said the senior counsel who compiled it was “required to work within predetermined parameters and scenarios set in the terms of reference given to him” by the former minister, who opposed Poolbeg.
“Having consulted with my Government colleagues, I have concluded that there is no national waste policy justification for the Government to intervene in this matter”, the Minister said. One of them is Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn, who represents Dublin South East.
“The Dublin Regional Waste Management Plan makes provision for the project and decisions in relation to it are a matter for the two parties to the contract, Dublin City Council and Dublin Waste to Energy Ltd” - the company which Covanta now controls.
The Minister said his focus “is firmly fixed on completing, by the end of the year, the review of national waste policy which he has initiated”. This review is widely expected to endorse “waste-to-energy” plants, such as the one planned for Poolbeg.
“Responsibility for waste management plans and their implementation is, and will remain, a matter primarily for local authorities, guided by the internationally recognised waste hierarchy”, Mr Hogan said, adding that this was “transposed into Irish law earlier this year”.
Dublin City Council said the “restricted terms of reference” of the Hennessy report “did not take into account the wider context which is relevant to understanding the Project and why it is necessary”, such as the requirements of EU waste management directives.
It pointed out that the four Dublin local authorities currently “have to issue a new contract every six months and waste facilities all around the country compete to take Dublin’s waste as there is no more landfill space available in the Dublin region”.
The Irish Waste Management Association has said the so-called ‘put or pay’ contract between Dublin City Council and Covanta to build the 600,000 tonne incinerator posed “a massive and unacceptable ongoing debt risk to taxpayers”.
Director of the association Brendan Keanve said it didn’t matter if waste levels dropped to zero.
“Covanta will continue to make a handsome profit since all taxpayers and ratepayers have signed a blank cheque to underwrite the facility.”
Last month, private waste companies said they would create 235 full-time jobs if the capacity of the planned Poolbeg incinerator was halved.
The Irish Times - Friday, April 15, 2011
THE FUTURE of the Poolbeg incinerator will not be determined before the summer, Dublin City Council has said.
This follows its decision yesterday to extend for a second time its contract with the plant’s developers.
The council’s decision follows the announcement by Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan that he is to defer his verdict on the introduction of levies on incineration.
Dublin city manager John Tierney had been due to make a decision on the future of the Poolbeg project by May 2nd.
Work on the incinerator began in December 2009, but has been suspended since last May.
The original contract with developers Covanta was due to expire last September, but Mr Tierney decided to extend it until next month.
Earlier this year Mr Tierney said he hoped construction would restart before that period expired.
The council last night said no decision on the future of the plant would be made before the summer.
“Dublin City Council and Covanta will, by agreement, extend their May 2nd decision date on recommencing the project to enable us to consider the implications of the Minister’s statement today.
“It will be summer before all details are finalised,” it said.
Mr Hogan yesterday increased the levy on waste going to landfill but said he would not be stating his position on the introduction of levies on incineration until after Easter.
An announcement on the introduction of levies for incineration had been expected yesterday, and Mr Hogan’s delay in making that decision meant the council was not in a position to determine the future of the Poolbeg plant.
However, Mr Hogan’s statement that his position would be based on the EU waste hierarchy would indicate that any levies will be lower than those imposed on landfill.
The Poolbeg plant, which will recover energy from the waste, would sit at a higher point on the hierarchy than a landfill facility.
Mr Gormley had proposed pitching levies on landfill and incineration at the same level, of up to €120 a tonne, which would have made Poolbeg unviable.
Meanwhile, waste company Greyhound is to create 112 jobs in recycling and recovery in Clondalkin and Ballymount, Dublin, following the decision of Mr Hogan to increase the landfill levies.
CLICK ON THE LEFT HAND SIDE OF THE
WEBSITE IN 'RECENT BLOG ENTRIES'
TO THE CORK HARBOUR ALLIANCE
ON THEIR SPLENDID ACHIEVEMENT IN PERSUADING AN BORD PLEANALA TO REFUSE PERMISSION FOR THE TOXIC WASTE INCINERATOR AT RINGASKIDDY.
LET US HOPE THAT MATURE CONSIDERATION IS SIMILARLY GOING TO PREVAIL WITH THE PROPOSED POOLBEG MONSTER BURNER – WE SURELY CANT AFFORD TO WASTE MORE THAN 350 MILLION EURO!
From the Irish Times:
ANALYSIS: Opposition began to crystallise when Indaver unveiled plans in 2001
YESTERDAY’S DECISION by An Bord Pleanála to refuse planning permission to Indaver for its €160 million twin incinerator project at Ringaskiddy may not be the end of the matter, but it does conclude an eventful decade for proponents and opponents of the project.
The long-running saga may have begun when Indaver purchased the Irish Ispat site at Ringaskiddy for an undisclosed sum in December 2000, but it wasn’t until April 2001 when Indaver unveiled plans for a hazardous waste incinerator that opposition began to crystallise.
Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment was established in October 2001, and a month later Indaver applied to Cork County Council for planning permission, prompting the harbour alliance to submit 30,000 letters of objection.
In April 2003 then Cork county manager Maurice Moloney proposed a material contravention of the county development plan, but a month later councillors voted by 30-13 against allowing rezoning, and in June 2003 Indaver appealed the decision to An Bord Pleanála.
The harbour alliance and more than 20 other parties lodged counter-appeals, and the alliance demanded an oral hearing which the board granted. In September and October 2003 both sides made submissions at the hearing in Neptune Stadium in Cork.
Senior planning inspector Philip Jones recommended refusal of planning on 14 specific grounds, but in January 2004 the board decided to override his recommendations and grant planning to Indaver for a hazardous waste incinerator.
In March 2004 Ringaskiddy and District Residents’ Association and 11 harbour area residents applied to the High Court for a judicial review of that decision – an application that would eventually be refused by the High Court in February 2008.
Parallel to the planning process, Indaver had also applied in April 2003 to the Environmental Protection Agency for a waste management licence, and in October 2004 the agency announced it was issuing Indaver with a draft operating licence.
In November 2004 the harbour alliance appealed the agency’s decision to grant Indaver a draft licence for Ringaskiddy, and the same month saw then minister for defence Willie O’Dea enter the debate when he said he didn’t believe Ringaskiddy was an appropriate site.
The agency began holding an oral hearing into Indaver’s waste licence application in February 2005, and that November the agency granted Indaver licences for a hazardous waste incinerator and a municipal waste incinerator at the Ringaskiddy site.
The Ringaskiddy and District Residents’ Association appealed the High Court decision to the Supreme Court in June 2008, with judgment being reserved, but in November 2008 the appeal was withdrawn on agreement by all parties.
Indaver applied under the Planning and Development (Strategic Infrastructure) Act 2006 to the board in November 2008 for planning for a hazardous waste incinerator and a municipal hazardous waste incinerator. A second oral hearing began in April 2009 and concluded in June 2009. In January 2010 the board indicated it would refuse planning for the municipal waste incinerator but would consider granting planning for the hazardous waste incinerator, and sought further information from Indaver. Indaver submitted new information in August 2010 on flooding and coastal erosion mitigation measures. The harbour alliance said these measures amounted to a new structure, and Indaver should submit an entirely new planning application.
In the event, Indaver did not submit a new planning application, but the board was clearly not satisfied with the company’s additional submissions, as concerns about flood and coastal mitigation measures formed two of the four grounds for yesterday’s refusal.
Indaver Ireland managing director John Ahern said it believed the four grounds given for the refusal could all be addressed by the company through redesign and engineering solutions.
“It has not altered our view that the Cork region needs a waste facility – a fact recognised by many including An Bord Pleanála itself . . . It is no longer responsible, credible or efficient to simply export or landfill our waste.”
AN BORD Pleanála yesterday refused planning permission to waste management company Indaver Ireland for a €160 million twin incinerator project at Ringaskiddy in Cork Harbour.
Indaver Ireland managing director John Ahern said the company was “disappointed but not discouraged” by the decision and he would not rule out re-applying for planning permission for an amended incinerator project for Cork.
“If we saw there was some way of going back and getting an opportunity to get a positive result next time out, then certainly we would look at re-applying – Indaver is committed to investing in Ireland and helping to solve our waste problem.”
The company had applied under the Planning and Development (Strategic Infrastructure) Act 2006 for a 100,000-tonne hazardous industrial waste incinerator, a 140,000-tonne municipal waste incinerator and a transfer station at the 12-hectare Ringaskiddy site.
But An Bord Pleanála refused permission for the project on four specific grounds and ordered that Indaver pay costs totalling €487,955 to a number of parties including €382,000 to the board and €43,700 to Cork County Council.
The board ruled that the provision of a municipal waste incinerator was inappropriate, having regard to the layout and limited size of the Ringaskiddy site and the waste management strategies of both Cork city and county councils.
The planning board found Indaver had, by seeking to facilitate the future treatment of municipal waste on the site in a revised submission of August 2010, failed to comply with a request to reduce the scale of the development.
“Therefore the development as proposed would constitute “overdevelopment of the site, which would seriously injure the amenities of the area and of the property in the vicinity.”
The board also found that Indaver had failed to properly address concerns about the risk of flooding on the road serving the site and the coastal erosion of the site.
Mr Ahern’s comments were echoed by PharmaChemical Ireland director Matt Moran, who described the board’s decision as “disappointing”.
The decision was welcomed by Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment chairwoman Mary O’Leary, who said the group was “stunned and delighted”.
Madam, I was quoted in the article (“New levies may scupper plans to restart Poolbeg incinerator work”, January 4th) in the context of waste incineration. This citation out of context accrues the wrong impression, that the German Greens are promoting incineration. The correct position is: “waste to energy” has to be the last step in a hierarchy after avoidance, reuse and recycling, to deal with the leftovers. Therefore, the capacity of an incinerator has to match the local demand, otherwise there will be no incentive for avoidance and recyclingI .The presentation referred to was specific to the situation and waste infrastructure in
Dr MICHAEL WELTZIN,
Advisor for Climate Policy
The aim of this Faecbook page is to show support for the growing demand that Dublin City Council publish the details of its contract with Covanta for the construction of its waste incinerator at Poolbeg. The council claims that it can't publish the terms of the contract as it is "commercially sensitive". This fob off has been used multiple times to deny the public the ability to examine how their representatives see fit to spend their money, and it wont do.
PLEASE CONTRIBUTE TO HELP
Donate to CRAI:
CRAI, A/C No. 27668908, Bank of
PUBLIC INQUIRY REQUIRED INTO INCINERATOR CONTRACT
From the Irish Times August 24th 2010:
OPINION: There has been no public scrutiny of the costs for planning and running the Poolbeg incinerator, write JOE MCCARTHY and VALERIE JENNINGS
THE DEAL struck between Dublin City Council and Covanta for the Poolbeg incinerator is a closely guarded secret so the public has been unable to judge the value for money in this project.
We know from two previous mistakes – e-voting machines and the Westlink toll bridge – that the public has lost millions through bad deals struck by public servants making poorly-informed decisions.
There has been no public scrutiny of the costs for planning, building and running this incinerator. In 2007, without reopening the public procurement process, Dublin City Council brought Covanta into this public/private partnership (PPP) when the original consortium of DONG/Elsam withdrew. The council went ahead with an extraordinary contract with Covanta which commits the city to decades of payments whether or not the waste is actually available.
The private operator in a PPP is supposed to bear the risk, but in this case the council has removed the risk by giving financial certainty to Covanta via the 25-year municipal contract at a fixed gate fee for 320,000 tonnes per annum. Thus the people of Dublin are carrying the risk, not Covanta.
We have asked the council at open days, at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Bórd Pleanála oral hearings and via Freedom of Information requests for details of the original financial model and for details of the contract costings but the council refuses to divulge any details on the basis of commercial confidentiality.
Therefore the figures used in this article are our best estimates based on information that is in the public domain and our extrapolations. We would be happy to revise our calculations if Dublin City Council would reveal their actual figures.
Because we do not have details of the “put or pay” contract between the council and Covanta we have estimated a gate fee of €80 per tonne (this estimate is based on figures presented to the oral hearings). At €80 per tonne Covanta would be guaranteed €25.6 million per annum for the first 320,000 tonnes. This revenue is more than enough to make a profit for Covanta.
On the same basis, we estimate the likely penalties for the city council not meeting the “put or pay” clause to be in the order of €14.4 million per annum.
Because the plant is oversized at 600,000 tonnes Covanta will be free to offer the excess capacity at any marginal price it chooses. This could lead to undercutting of other operators. Recycling and mechanical biological treatment (MBT), which are more environmentally friendly disposal methods, would be undermined. This has already happened in US cities where Covanta is operating.
A presentation by Covanta to the Welsh government released under FoI reveals an offer by Covanta to operate a 600,000 tonne incinerator just like Poolbeg for a gate fee of £45 (€53) per tonne. An agreement signed in the US by Elbert County, Georgia, which names Covanta as operator of a planned incinerator the same size as Poolbeg, has a gate fee of just $25 (€20) per tonne.
Why has Dublin City Council apparently committed to a gate fee which is 50 per cent more expensive than the offer in Wales and four times the cost in Georgia?
The additional income to Covanta would be €8.64 million annually over the Welsh price or €19.2 million over the US price.
Then there is the question of revenue from the sale of electricity.
We estimate the electricity revenue from burning 320,000 tonnes to be €11.5 million annually and Covanta generally retains energy revenues from tip-fee type contracts, although again we don’t know what revenue sharing is agreed for Dublin.
Covanta’s extra income in Dublin, compared to Wales and the US, therefore appears to be between €20 million and €30 million annually. Over the 25 years of the contract Covanta could take between €500 million and €750 million in extra income in Dublin.
This is an astonishing amount of money. Cui bono? Certainly not the citizens of Dublin. We begin to see why US big business is leaning so heavily on the Irish authorities to get this project going before too many awkward questions are asked.
Incineration was selected in 1997 based on a flawed analysis. The margin by which incineration was chosen over MBT was just 19 per cent but several costs were omitted, including the cost of the land, the cost of disposing of ash and the cost of CO2 emissions.
The incinerator will produce mountains of bottom ash – 150,000 tonnes every year – and the city council proposed to export this ash from Poolbeg by ship for “recycling” in the UK or Denmark. The cost of transporting the bottom ash was omitted from the original analysis. The impact of handling and disposing of the bottom ash was excluded from both the Bórd Pleanála and EPA hearings.
If, as is likely, the bottom ash is to go to the new landfill at Nevitt in north Co Dublin the planning permission will have to be “rectified”, according to former assistant city manager Matt Twomey.
Bottom ash is an active material because of the heavy metal content and will need a waste licence before being exported or being dumped in landfill. The ash needs to be cured by allowing it to sit for weeks in the air before it can be tested for hazardous classification.
The costs of the ash handling, transport and land for curing have also been omitted.
The original analysis omitted the cost of disposal of fly ash which is toxic and needs specialised handling and disposal, usually in salt mines in Germany. Again the cost of transport was omitted.
The cost of the large quantities of CO2 produced by the incinerator was also omitted.
When all these costs are taken into account MBT is actually cheaper than incineration.
Dublin City Council is spinning about the likelihood of large fines. Fines for breaching the EU landfill directive have not been imposed anywhere and are unlikely to arise in Ireland. This is because the MBT plants already in operation suggest the 2010 target will be met. EPA guidelines on source segregation and regulations requiring the composting of food waste will help the country meet the targets for future years.
If the Dublin region had a number of smaller MBT plants there would be less distance for trucks to transport the waste, more jobs and more competition in the marketplace. This would provide better value for the residents and businesses of Dublin than one enormous incinerator monopolising the waste market. It would also mean that Dublin would not be stuck with an inflexible contract for 25 years, restricting any innovation in waste management.
This project was intentionally split into pieces, each requiring approval from a different authority. There is no proper cost benefit analysis for the overall project.
E-voting and Westlink turned out to be extremely costly to the Irish taxpayer. They were undertaken by the authorities without proper scrutiny of the costs – €60 million in the case of e-voting and €600 million to buy out the Westlink toll bridge. We need an opportunity to discuss the value for money of the proposed incinerator and the enormous costs and profits associated with it.
It is time for an independent, open inquiry into how this project came about, what the costs have been and what the financial consequences will be for Dublin’s citizens.
Joe McCarthy and Valerie Jennings are residents of Sandymount, Dublin. They previously campaigned successfully against the e-voting project.
RESIDENTS PROTESTING against the Poolbeg incinerator in Dublin have said they are prepared to block access to the plant if it goes ahead.
Francis Corr, chairwoman of the Combined Residents Against Incineration, said there was only one way in and one way out of the plant site.
“We will block it if we have to,” she said.
Up to 200 residents of Ringsend, Irishtown and Sandymount protested against the planned incinerator on Saturday. They were joined by local politicians including Fianna Fáil TD Chris Andrews, Labour TD Rory Quinn, Fine Gael TD Lucinda Creighton and councillors Kevin Humphries and Maria Parodi (both Labour).
Temporarily blocking traffic going to and from the East-Link bridge, the protesters marched from Clanna Gael Fontenoy GAA Club along Seán Moore Road to the roundabout and back again.
Inside the GAA club, Dublin City Council was hosting an information session on the incinerator project. Waste to Energy is a public private partnership between the council and Dublin Waste to Energy Ltd, a joint venture company set up by Covanta Energy USA and Dong Energy Generation A/S, Denmark.
Construction has already begun on the plant, which will have the capacity to deal with 600,000 tonnes of waste a year. The council has said up to 500 people will be employed at the site at peak construction and the plant will provide 60 permanent jobs.
The incinerator has been in the planning for 12 years and locals have protested against it from the beginning.
Their concerns include the effects of traffic going to and from the plant and the danger to health posed by emissions from it.
Ms Corr said it was not too late for the Minister for the Environment, local TD John Gormley, to instruct the council to cancel the Covanta contract, but if this did not happen, residents would not give up.
“We will keep on going until it is over,” Ms Corr added. “There is only one way in and one way out down there; we can block it if we have to.”
Many of the protesters said they had lost trust in the council because of its record with the wastewater treatment plant, also built at Poolbeg. When the plant was at construction stage, residents were told it would not create odour problems, but it took six years for the odour pollution to abate.
“Before it opened, we were told the sewage plant was the most modern in the EU; you can’t trust these people,” local resident Larry Joyce said.
The author of a review into waste management practice has accused the Economic and Social Research Institute’s (ESRI) report published today of featuring a number of “factual errors” and “misplaced assumptions”.
“If ESRI were to correct the errors they have made, they would reach similar conclusions to those of our international expert team,” said Dr Dominic Hogg of consultants Eunomia.
The ESRI’s report - An Economic Approach to Municipal Waste Management Policy in Ireland - was critical of the Minister for Environment’s policy on waste incineration saying it had “no underlying rationale” and is likely to impose “needless costs on the economy”.
It also said the report by Eunomia, carried out separately for the Minister, was “severely flawed” in setting its recommended levies for residual waste.
However, Dr Hogg said while it is understandable the ESRI has “very limited experience” in the area of waste management policy and information “factual errors and misplaced assumptions around economics and policy which appear throughout the report” cannot pass without comment.
He said the ESRI assumes wrongly that emissions of carbon dioxide from waste facilities can be ignored because they are already “paid for” through the existence of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).
Dr Hogg claimed the ESRI report calculates the environmental costs of air pollution but then ignores them. It does this because, he said, the facilities are regulated under permits and licenses issued by the EPA. As a result, the externalities resulting from the remaining emissions that do occur are zero.
“This line of argument might be expected from an industrial lobby group, but not from ESRI, and no independent environmental economist would subscribe to their view,” Dr Hogg said.
He also said carbon dioxide emissions reported in the study for incineration are too low by a factor of 10 and that the source of data for emissions from MBT is not referring to an MBT facility at all.
He said he would write to the director of the ESRI to request changes be made.
“We suspect that it will then become clear that the differences in the ESRI and Eunomia figures for the proposed levy on incineration would be slight,” Dr Hogg added.
Residents from Ringsend, Irishtown, Sandymount and across Dublin City will be protesting this Saturday January 30th against the 600,000 tonne incinerator planned to built in Poolbeg, Dublin. The local residents state it has already been shown that the incinerator is a disgraceful waste of tax-payers money with over 120 million already spent before it has even been built. Furthermore, the incinerator has been ruled to be anti-competitive by a recent court judge. Residents state they are committed to ensuring it will not be not built.
The Combined Residents Against Incineration are calling on the Minister for Environment to instruct DCC to cancel the contract to Covanta the planned private operator of the incinerator. The costs of penalties of cancelling the contract will pale in comparison to the health costs to the local population and the astronomical costs that will be spent on building and operating the plant over its planned 25 year life. Furthermore, residents ask wouldn't it better to spend the 350 million on recyling and waste reduction initiatives which would negate the need for an incinerator?
CRAI also believe:
The incinerator is anti-recycling:
Dublin City Council plan to build one of the biggest incinerators in Europe in Poolbeg– it will have a capacity for burning 600,000 tonnes of waste yet Dublin only produces a fraction of that amount.Furthermore another huge incinerator is already being built in meath. In the future could Ireland be importing waste to burn in the incinerators?
The Public Private Partnership means that 320,000 tonnes is guaranteed by the councils to the private operator of the incinerator. How will this encourage recycling or reduction of waste? Incineration goes against the principles of reduce, re-use recycle. Dublin City Council will in all likelihood be less inclined to continue to promote recycling
It will ruin Dublin Bay :
The incinerator will have the same foot print of Croke Park and be the height of Liberty Hall
Too many health dangers:
There are potential health dangers of implications of the emission of toxic micro-particles to the population of Dublin . The plant will produce 10,000 tonnes per month of toxic bottom ash
It is a waste of Money:
The incinerator has already cost 120 million. How much more of your money will be spent on this white elephant?
Residents are calling on the public to join them in this protest- we can stop this incinerator.
Organised by the COMBINED RESIDENTS AGAINST INCINERATION (CRAI)
Contact: Frances Corr: 0877715825 Dr. Rory Hearne 0861523542 May Kane: 0876994267
An Occasional Newsletter about the Poolbeg Incinerator Project)
NOTES ON COVANTA BRIEFING TO MAURICE BRYAN - 30/1/2010
On arrival at Dublin Waste to Energy Open Day at Clann na Gael I was immediately brought by Elizabeth Arnett to be briefed on the DCC/Covanta contract. The main points are as follows:
Madam, – One must agree with the excellent points made by Rosie Cargin (January 5th) emphasising the cost and other implications of proceeding with the proposed Poolbeg incinerator.
Prof Vyvyan Howard gave evidence to the Environmental Protection Agency hearing, on behalf of Combined Residents Against the Incinerator, about the implications of pathogen transfer by micro-particles and the potential danger to surrounding communities.
This was amplified by disquieting evidence from Dr Stefano Montanari, an expert in this research. This alarming aspect appears to have been largely ignored by both Bord Pleanála and the EPA.
However, the EPA, in granting its licence, imposed stringent conditions on the operation of, and discharges from, the plant, which cannot of course be evaluated until it is built. This means the entire construction expenditure may be set at nought, and the facility may become a “white elephant” to dwarf the electronic voting machines.
There are many other uncertainties arising from the proposal:
1. The planning process under which permission was given was a “hybrid” that fell between the normal process and the Strategic Infrastructure Act, and which is of doubtful legality under EU law. Its legitimacy is shortly to be challenged in the courts. This could overturn the planning process.
2. The 600,000-tonne proposed capacity was originally selected on two postulations – that the eastern bypass road would be open before the incinerator was built, and that the population of Dublin in 2020 would exceed two million. The road has been abandoned, necessitating a complex traffic plan whereby most of the waste will travel by the M50 and back through the Port Tunnel to Poolbeg. The population prediction was also clearly flawed.
When the recent judgment confirming the right of the private waste collectors to ownership and disposal of waste collected by them is added, it is clear the amount available for the plant will fall far short of the 320,000 tonnes guaranteed by the councils, so that penalty costs will be incurred. The result will be that bodies like Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, whose waste is collected by private firms, will still have to pay their share of the compensation, doubtless to be levied on citizens in addition to collection charges. Council waste charges will naturally have to rise considerably.
3. The council’s consultants stated at the planning inquiry that the incoming waste was liable to spontaneous combustion, especially as it would be unsorted. This makes it doubtful if the trucks concerned could go through the Port Tunnel. They would certainly require special provisions. This negates the council’s statement that there would be no congestion on Seán Moore Road.
4. At full capacity, the plant would produce 10,000 tonnes per month of toxic bottom ash. This requires treatment before it can be sold as road metal (for which there appears to be no present market).
The original proposal was to ship it abroad, a process strictly regulated by EU law and which may not be allowed. It beggars belief that, at this stage of the project, there is no clarity on this major part of the process.
This monster of an incinerator would look like an inverted jelly mould, larger than Croke Park, and would present a potential health threat. (No full baseline health study of the community has been carried out.)
Perhaps these concerns will serve to convince your readers that someone, somewhere, (possibly even the Government) must be able to stop this gratuitous waste before it is too late, before irreparable damage is done.