Poolbeg plant size 'should be halved'


A group representing private waste management firms has said Dublin City Council should consider halving the size of the proposed Poolbeg incinerator, claiming it is “hugely out of scale” for the volume of waste in the region.

The Irish Waste Management Association was responding after plans for a 210-hectare landfill near Lusk in north Dublin were scrapped.

Chairman of the organisation Jim Kells said he was not surprised at the decision by the four Dublin local authorities to pull out of the plan, which has cost €32.7 million to date.

Mr Kells said there was “no need” for such a “superdump” at the moment, because the private sector was catering very well for the quantities of waste being produced in Ireland at the moment.

He said one of reasons the authorities pulled out of dump project was that they were no longer in the business of waste collection.

The private sector was now collecting waste in all the local authority areas in Dublin. Waste recovered would all be turned into refuse-derived fuel or into solid-recover fuel which would replace coal and oil used in cement kilns and elsewhere.

Mr Kells said that in the last few years, over 600,000 tonnes of waste - the proposed capacity of the Poolbeg incinerator - had been taken out by the private sector and recovered for fuel.

He said economic and waste developments in Ireland, particularly in recent years, had “changed the whole landscape”.

Fingal County Council, which was leading the Lusk landfill project for the local authorities, would have had to commit a further €45 million in land and development costs by yesterday.

The council said the regulatory and financial case for the plan had changed since it was first proposed in 1997.

Mr Kells said the decision highlighted the need to examine other waste management developments in light of changed economic circumstances and developments in the waste sector.

The proposed incinerator at Poolbeg was “much too large” and should be scaled down to roughly half its proposed size, he added.

Almost €9 million will be spent by Dublin City Council next year in relation to the development of the Poolbeg incinerator, which has been delayed for more than 18 months.

The contract between the council and the developers of the incinerator has been extended until February by agreement with both parties.

The council is to spend €8.9 million next year, in addition to €34 million already spent on the 600,000 tonne facility, even though its future remains under review. The council also has a future liability of €23 million to pay in relation to the project.