Irish Cement says change of fuel will reduce carbon-dioxide emissions

Closing submissions at hearing into plan to change fuels used at Limerick plant

In his closing argument on behalf of Irish Cement, Jarlath Fitzsimons SC said the company had not applied for planning permission for a separate development but rather to change fuels

In his closing argument on behalf of Irish Cement, Jarlath Fitzsimons SC said the company had not applied for planning permission for a separate development but rather to change fuels

 

A move by Irish Cement to change the type of fuel burned at its manufacturing plant near Limerick would cut carbon-dioxide emissions from the operation by 40,000 tonnes per annum, the company has claimed.

Closing submissions were heard on Friday at a Bord Pleanála hearing on the €10 million proposal which would see fossil fuels replaced by processed waste products such as used tyres at the Mungret plant.

The four-day oral hearing heard that a list of 115 separate waste codes – including materials such as “animal tissue waste” – was included in the planning application approved by Limerick City and County Council. Irish Cement plans to introduce, store and utilise up to 90,000 tonnes of alternative fuel per annum at the facility.

Opponents of the proposal have raised fears about potentially negative impacts the change could have on their health and the surrounding environment.

Brian Gilmore, head of communications at Irish Cement, said any alternative fuel sources “will be tested” before being used at the plant, and that it would not be “bringing any fuels to site that don’t meet the specifications”.

Cement factory

He said another cement factory licensed by the EPA to use 150 different alternative fuels uses only three including “meat and bone meal”.

“While fuel we will take in is derived from waste, we are not taking in [unprocessed] waste,” he said.

Jack O’Sullivan, of Limerick Against Pollution, claimed parts of the planning application were “incomplete and should be considered as incorrect”.

“If planning permission were to be granted the existing facility would be better described as a ‘cement production plant involving co-incineration of hazardous and non-hazardous wastes’.”

The group argued that Irish Cement provided unsatisfactory data in relation to potential negative impacts on health and environment, and claimed the proposed plan was “not sustainable development”.

Incineration

In his closing argument on behalf of Irish Cement, Jarlath Fitzsimons SC said the company had not applied for planning permission for a separate development but rather to change fuels. “It is abundantly clear this development is not a waste incineration plant or an incinerator.”

Irish Cement added that the proposed development would result in a reduction of 40,000 tonnes of carbon-dioxide emissions per annum, with Mr Fitzsimons adding that “this has to be be an exercise in sustainability”.

A decision by the board will be made in due course.