Cork ships household waste for incineration


AN ESTIMATED 50,000 tonnes of domestic waste look set to be exported from Cork city and county this year for disposal abroad due to a lack of local facilities to cater for the waste.

Some 28,000 tonnes of domestic black bag waste which cannot be recycled has been exported through Cork port since the beginning of the year and the figure is expected to reach 50,000 tonnes by the end of the year.

The export of the waste is organised by Indaver. Details of the Cork shipments emerged last month at an oral hearing held by An Bord Pleanála into a planning application by Indaver for an expansion of its €140 million incinerator at Carranstown near Duleek, Co Meath.

Indaver confirmed this is the first year it has exported domestic waste through Cork but said it expects the business to grow in the coming years as landfills are being phased out throughout Munster.

A spokesman for the company said there were currently shipments from Cork every three weeks to either the Netherlands or Sweden, where the waste was disposed of in incinerators and used to generate electricity.

“In Holland the electricity generated from the Cork waste is fed into the national grid and the steam generated is used by two factories to power their facilities, while in Sweden the Cork waste is also used to generate electricity,” said the spokesman.

Waste collection services in Cork city and county were privatised in 2010 and 2011. Last year Cork County Council carried out a review and recommended mothballing its new €46.8 million landfill facility at Bottlehill pending a review of national waste policy.

According to the council, opening the Bottlehill facility, which has a 20-year capacity, would not be financially viable at the moment as it would need to receive a minimum of 150,000 tonnes of waste a year and charge a fee of €50 per tonne when the market rate is €20-€30 per tonne.

Indaver is taking judicial review proceedings against An Bord Pleanála’s decision in June 2011 to refuse planning permission for its €160 million twin-incinerator project at Ringaskiddy. The matter is listed for hearing in the High Court on October 23rd.

It is understood Indaver will argue that An Bord Pleanála failed to take account of the fact that Cork County Council was exiting the waste market and that the council’s landfill site at Bottlehill would not proceed when it made its decision to refuse planning.

A spokeswoman for the Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment, which opposed the Ringaskiddy project, said Indaver was ignoring the fact that the waste management strategy was just one of four grounds on which the board had refused planning permission.

The board also cited the site’s small size, inadequate road flood risk mitigation and inadequate coastal erosion mitigation as grounds for turning down the planning application, and Indaver had not addressed these issues, she said.