Minister's waste move may hit Poolbeg
PLANS TO regulate the waste collection market by allowing local authorities to control which private companies collect household waste are to be abandoned by Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan.
A new national waste policy which favours the private sector, and could have serious implications for the development of the Poolbeg incinerator, will be presented to Cabinet by Mr Hogan today.
The programme for government had included a commitment to establish a new waste policy which would introduce a “competitive tendering” system where collectors would bid to service an entire local authority area. Currently any private operator with a licence can offer waste collection to households.
However, political sources have confirmed that Mr Hogan intends to recommend to Cabinet today that the status quo be maintained and the private sector be allowed to operate freely in the market.
The tendering system was to have included the obligation to provide a waiver scheme to assist low-income households. It is understood that while not scrapping this principle Mr Hogan will advise his Cabinet colleagues that the measure, which would have serious cost implications, requires further exploration.
While maintaining a light touch to regulation of the private sector Mr Hogan is set to be firmer in his approach to local authorities. County and city councils operate under 11 regional waste management plans, and some have developed independent plans. Mr Hogan intends to establish just three waste management regional bodies.
Dublin City Council is likely to be most alarmed by the new policy, having told Mr Hogan that the 600,000 tonne Poolbeg incinerator would not be viable unless local authorities could control the Dublin region’s waste.
Bord na Móna’s chief executive Gabriel D’arcy yesterday called for greater consolidation in the waste management industry, pointing out that there was an excess of smaller players in the market in Ireland.