Incineration cap 'would lead to rise in cost of treatment'

Wed, Oct 27, 2010, 01:00

A CAP on incineration would add to the risk and cost of developing waste-to-energy treatment infrastructure, according to the policy advisory body for enterprise and science, Forfás.

Elements of the Department of the Environment’s draft statement on waste policy are welcomed by the body in its updated report, Waste Management in Ireland.

However, Forfás recommended the resulting policy should rule out a cap on incineration on the grounds that it could prevent potential investment.

“A proposed cap on incineration levels should not be introduced as it stands to inhibit economies of scale which are key to bringing Irish waste costs more into line with our competitors,” the report said.

“This is essential to developing the waste-to-energy market as a waste management option for Irish enterprise and to avoid potential damage to Ireland’s reputation as a destination for investment.”

Minister for the Environment John Gormley proposes to bring forward a Bill that would create a levy system for incinerators pegged at the same level as landfill. Mr Gormley is opposed to the planned Poolbeg incinerator in his Dublin South East constituency.

The report also said the policy should not introduce a waste-to-energy levy before a market was established here.

A spokesman for Mr Gormley said the Forfás position on waste management had not changed for a number of years, “whereas the world has moved on and technology has moved on and waste policy in Ireland has moved on”. He said the introduction of a cap on incineration was under consideration, but a decision had not been taken.The Minister had made clear his waste policy would protect the environment and lower the cost to business and consumers, the spokesman added.

Forfás said waste management policy should support national competitiveness as well as environmental sustainability objectives.

“A number of the proposed measures will further damage Ireland’s cost competitiveness at a time when Irish companies are struggling to maintain exports, market share and employment,” its report said.