Mass-burn incineration is now seen as 'unacceptable'

 

Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats have come out against "mass-burn incineration of unsegregated\waste, with no energy recovery", describing it as "not an acceptable practice today".

Their Programme for Government said thermal treatment using best available technology "must be based on prior extraction from the waste stream of recyclables and problematic materials (eg metals, batteries) to the maximum extent possible".

This is in line with the PD election manifesto, rather than the Fianna Fáil position which favoured the use of incineration, though without specifically saying so.

Otherwise, most of the pledges in the programme published yesterday were culled from Fianna Fáil's pre-election environment policy.

It reiterates pledges that door-to-door collections of recyclables would be extended progressively to most urban centres; that weight-based waste charging would be introduced; and that waste prevention efforts would be both "ambitious and well-resourced".

As the outgoing Minister for the Environment, Mr Dempsey, already indicated, producer responsibility would be extended to construction and demolition waste, end-of-life vehicles, newsprint, electronic equipment and batteries.

The new government will also consider extending the 15 cent levy on plastic bags to other non-reusable packaging as well as re-balancing motor taxation to favour vehicles with lower carbon dioxide emissions and giving more incentives for renewable energy projects.

Though the National Climate Change Strategy would be fully implemented, greenhouse gas taxation policies are to be introduced on a "phased incremental basis and in a manner which takes account of national economic, social and environmental objectives".

A new Office of Environmental Enforcement is to be set up to audit the performance of local authorities, "taking action against those lagging behind".

Penalties for breaches of environmental laws will also "reflect the damage to the environment which has been caused".

On housing, the programme pledges "a full package of reforms" in the private-rented sector, further expansion of social housing, an enhanced role for voluntary housing associations to produce 4,000 units per year and implementation of strategies to deal with homelessness.

Referring to the Sellafield nuclear plant as "an unacceptable threat to Ireland \ should be closed", the two parties pledged to "use every diplomatic and legal route available to us to work towards the achievement of this objective".

Nuclear emergency plans will also be kept up to date.