ESRI denies it 'acted without integrity' on incineration report

Fri, Feb 5, 2010, 00:00

THE AUTHOR of an Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) report on waste management has defended the work.

Paul Gorecki, research professor with the ESRI, said the report, which criticised Mr Gormley’s position on incineration, was independent and its results were not influenced by the fact it was commissioned by Dublin City Council, which is building an incinerator at Poolbeg.

“Everything we do is done properly and with integrity, and I reject the suggestion that we acted without integrity.”

Mr Gorecki was responding to criticism by Mr Gormley of the ESRI’s standards. Mr Gormley told RTÉ Radio on Wednesday: “Certainly in my time in public life I’ve never come across anything like this where ESRI is used in that way, and I think they departed from their normal standards in that regard.”

The report, published this week, found “no underlying rationale” for Mr Gormley’s position on incineration, and said the international review of waste policy he commissioned was “severely flawed”.

However, the lead author of the international review, Dr Dominic Hogg, said the ESRI report contained a number of “major errors”.

He said the report erroneously stated that the emissions from incinerators were covered by the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. It ignored the environmental costs of air pollution and miscalculated the carbon-dioxide emissions from incineration, underestimating them by a factor of 10.

It also failed to assess mechanical biological treatment (MBT), the process favoured by Mr Gormley. “If ESRI were to correct the errors they have made they would reach similar conclusions to those of our international expert team,” Dr Hogg said.

Mr Gorecki said he would give full consideration to any submissions made by Dr Hogg, and that if any errors were found in the ESRI report they would be corrected. He was “confident the main conclusions reached will stand”.

Fine Gael environment spokesman Phil Hogan accused Mr Gormley of mounting a smear campaign against the ESRI in a “desperate move to disguise his complete failure to change Government policy on waste”.