Irish Times - 04-01-06
The developers of a controversial proposed incinerator at Carranstown, Co Meath, are to apply for a 33 per cent increase in operating capacity, writes Paul Cullen
Indaver Ireland says it will apply for planning permission in the coming weeks to allow the plant to take up to 200,000 tonnes of non-hazardous waste a year. The company currently has approval from An Bord Pleanála and the Environmental Protection Agency to burn 150,000 tonnes a year.
The announcement has provoked dismay among anti-incineration campaigners, who are already embroiled in a lengthy legal challenge against the original planning permission.
Áine Walsh, spokeswoman for the No Incineration Alliance, said the news confirmed "one of our worst fears" by showing that Indaver aimed to take waste from Dublin, beyond its remit for the northeast.
"In this climate, where we have sufficient landfill capacity for our needs and we have to sign up to the Kyoto Protocol, it is lunacy to start increasing our burn technology," she said.
Ms Walsh predicted the increase in capacity, if granted, would put another 3,000 truckloads of waste each year on local roads.
However, Indaver says its application to process 150,000-200,000 tonnes of waste a year is in line with the waste management plan proposed for the northeast. The proposed plant would reduce by 90 per cent the volume of waste going to landfill in the region, as well as generating 13 megawatts of electricity a year - enough to power 19,000 homes.
The company also plans to increase the size of the plant from 35 metres to 45 metres and the stack from 45 metres to 65 metres. The new stack would not be visible from the megalithic Newgrange site and "nothing would be visible other than the tip of the stack" from the site at Dowth, according to project manager Jackie Keaney. "The facility will be operated to EU directive and EPA licence limits, ensuring that there will be no negative impact on public health or the environment. The layout of the facility will be redesigned and relocated towards the back of the site to mitigate visual impact."
Ms Keaney said the company wasn't interested in taking waste from Dublin, as an incinerator for the city's waste was planned for Ringsend. However, Indaver wanted "flexibility" to allow it to take some waste from outside counties Meath, Louth, Cavan and Monaghan, particularly when this was supplied by a contractor. The waste burned at Carranstown would come "primarily" from the northeast.
Green Party environment spokesman Ciarán Cuffe expressed concern about the proposal. "The more incineration capacity we have the more difficult it will be to reduce, reuse and recycle waste materials. We're not addressing the more fundamental question of how we can reduce the amount of waste we produce."
Former Drogheda mayor, Cllr Gerald Nash, said he was "angry and disappointed, but not at all surprised" at Indaver's decision. He accused the company of putting "a certain interpretation" on the waste strategy for the northeast which did not accord with the understanding of local people.
Indaver, which also has planning permission for two proposed incinerators in Ringaskiddy, Co Cork, has also announced a "pre-planning consultation programme" with local interests, starting this month.
Any decision by Meath County Council to give planning permission for the new application is certain to be appealed to An Bord Pleanála, which has discretion on whether to hold an oral hearing. Indaver will also have to apply to the EPA for a review of its existing waste licence, an agency spokeswoman confirmed.
A High Court challenge against Indaver's original planning permission failed last year, but this has been appealed to the Supreme Court. A decision is expected shortly.
© The Irish Times
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