Controversy over incineration plan

 

Madam, – The Minister for the Environment may philosophise about waste management. But philosophy won’t get rid of the 700,000 tons generated in Dublin which is currently going to landfill. The local authorities can’t indulge themselves in philosophy – they have to get rid of the waste.

Even the most environmentally conscious Dubliners will still have a lot of waste left over after their best recycling efforts. The choice for the remainder is simple. Dump it in ever-bulging landfills or burn it in a modern incinerator and generate electricity in the process.

As a resident of Sandymount, I want my waste dealt with locally rather than driven 20 miles to be dumped in a hole in Co Kildare.

The ESRI report states (Home News, February 3rd) there is no underlying rationale for Minister Gormley’s proposed waste policy. An Bord Pleanála has approved the incinerator. The EPA has approved the incinerator. The ESRI supports it. Let’s get on with it. – Yours, etc,

BRENDAN BURGESS,

Farney Park,

Sandymount,

Dublin 4.

Madam, – Construction appears to have commenced on the greater Dublin region Poolbeg incinerator in advance of a number of 12-month baseline studies which we understand to be a prior requirement of the An Bord Pleanála permission.

A number of other issues such as the final long-term destination, treatment and disposal of incinerator ashes over the entire 20-25 year lifetime of the plant have not been definitively answered. At the oral hearing it was stated that it is proposed to export bottom and fly ash residues from the nearby coal quay at present to an unstated destination abroad. That seems to be still the case. The Bord Pleanála decision simply makes a condition in regard to storage of flue gas residues.

“Flue gas residues shall not be stored at any location outside the boundaries of the site of the proposed development in such quantities as to result in the storage area becoming an Establishment for the purposes of the European Union Major Accidents Directive.” (Condition 12)

There is no condition regarding the export, treatment or disposal of all waste incinerator ashes. It seems that it is still left as a matter for the incinerator company to decide at any point.

Over the past few weeks the waste-to-energy company has referred to providing district heating to 50,000-60,000 homes from the plant. The pipeline routes, land acquisition costs and construction cost of the necessary pipelines have not been publicised. No Environmental Impact Statement has been done, nor has it been revealed who is to pay for them.

A key objective of the Dublin district heating project feasibility studies has been to identify large new build developments which are most suited to the implementation of district heating, to be run by “an appointed district heating company.”

The most suitable recipients for proposed connection to the incinerator waste heating supply have been identified as Docklands and the, as yet unbuilt upon, IGB sites.

In reply to a question by Bord Pleanála’s inspector it was stated that no specific application to provide district heating from the proposed incinerator was before the board at that time.

If part of the income of the incinerator company is to be derived from an, as yet unpublished, unapplied for permission for district heating from the Poolbeg incinerator, to a select number of new build developments, we feel it should have been part of the oral hearing debate.

The project information supplied to the public-private partnership stated the successful bidder (for the Poolbeg incinerator project) “will be entitled to charge a gate fee in respect of waste thermally treated and will be able to generate income from a number of other sources”.

The Minister has indicated he is studying the contract between the waste-to-energy company and the local authority.

We feel construction work should cease until all these issues have been resolved and either a judicial review and/or a reopening of the oral hearing takes place. – Yours, etc,

LORNA KELLY,

Sandymount Merrion

Residents Association,

Castle Park,

Sandymount, Dublin 4.