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CHASE Press Release - 04-06-09
Department Of Environment Circular To Planning Authorities Confirms Policy Moving Away From Incineration

A Circular issued (Fri 29 May) by John Gormley to all planning authorities makes it clear that mechanical and biological treatments, not incineration, are to be the cornerstones of national waste policy in the future and outlines direction from the Minister to instruct local authorities and the EPA to "refrain from exercising their powers in such a way as to direct waste to landfill or incineration." (Full Text at end)

This circular was sent to all City and County Managers and Environment Directors, to An Bord Pleanala and the EPA. The circular states that the Programme for Government emphasises in particular movements away from the high reliance on incineration forseen in the National Development Plan, and increases commitment to the use of alternative technologies, including those known as mehanical and biological treatment.

The circular also states that the Minister has initiated a process which would require the EPA and local authorities to refrain from exercising their powers in such a way as to direct waste to lanfill or incineration.

CHASE has welcomed this clarification, and says "This policy movement away from incineration, towards waste minimisation and resource focused solutions is very significant. It is a positive step towards achieving the developent of a waste and resource policy as set out in the Programme for Government (Department Statement of Strategy 2008 - 2010), and reinforces policy already adopted by Cork City and County Councils, who are currently on target to meet 2012 landfill directives without any need for incineration. Cork City Council has stated in addition that they will look towards modular, flexible solutions if the need arises to meet 2016 solutions. These clear moves away from incineration leave Indaver's incinerator with no role to play in Waste Management."

The Oral Hearing resumes on Monday next 8 June at Cork International Airport Hotel.


Mary O’Leary, 086 8177737, 021 4811952
Mary Hurley, 086 8162448, 021 4803070
Linda FitzPatrick, 087 7410849, 021 4374506

The full text of the circular from the Department of the Environment is below:

May 2009
Circular #####

Update on progress in respect of implementing the waste management provisions of the Programme for Government

I am directed by the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to update you on progress in respect of implementing the waste management provisions of the Programme for Government, and in particular the commitment to conduct an international review of waste management policy.

The Programme for Government makes major commitments in relation to national waste policy. In particular, there is an emphasis on moving away from the high reliance on incineration foreseen in the National Development Plan and reflected in the regional waste management plans for which the local authorities have statutory responsibility, generally operating in regional groupings. In this regard it is intended that there be an increased commitment to the use of alternative technologies, including those known as mechanical and biological treatment.

The Department’s Statement of Strategy 2008-2010, which is published on the Department’s web site and which was noted by Government in July 2008, states:

"The new Programme for Government indicates a further development of waste and resource policy in the direction of sustainability, in particular, to move away from mass burn incineration towards alternative technologies and to minimise waste going to landfill, subject to the outcome of the review of the waste management strategy. This major international review being undertaken by the Department will address how best to implement waste prevention and minimisation, and the emergence of new technologies in waste management."

Progress on the review of waste management strategy
Consultants have been retained to conduct the study of waste policy options which will underpin the conclusion of the overall review later this year. This work is well advanced and a series of interim reports has been considered by the Review Steering Group. It is considered that the study itself should be concluded on time, July 2009, with policy proposals being brought to Government shortly thereafter.

Interim policy measures
While this work is on target, it is acknowledged that progress towards meeting Ireland’s targets under the Landfill Directive and the requirements of the recently adopted Waste Framework Directive cannot wait. Therefore the Minister is pressing ahead with key initiatives which are compatible with the overall objectives of the review in order to meet the targets. These include:
• increase in the landfill levy and the introduction of a levy on incineration;
• roll-out of brown bin collections;
• intensifying efforts to promote at source/home composting;
• supporting small-scale local composting initiatives;
• encouraging access to waste streams for composting/anaerobic digestion, recycling and other processes high on the waste hierarchy; and,
• source segregated collection of commercial biowaste.

The Minister has also initiated a Strategic Environmental Assessment on proposed policy directions to the EPA and local authorities which would (in relation to their functions under the Waste Management Acts and any instruments made thereunder), inter alia, require the recipients to:
• limit incineration capacity to ensure that waste is not drawn to incineration which could have been dealt with by recycling or other methods higher up the waste hierarchy;
• refrain from exercising their powers in such a way as to direct waste to landfill or incineration.

The proposed policy direction is subject to consultation with both the public and all stakeholders, including local authorities.

The above are interim actions intended to help meet the Landfill Directive targets while implementing the commitments in the Programme for Government. The Minister considers that they are in line with the policies emerging from the overall review.

Queries in relation to this Circular may be addressed to the undersigned.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Layde
Principal Officer
Waste Policy: Review and Regulation

+353 1 888 2434
+353 1 888 2797 (Fax)

TO: Each County and City Manager, each Director of Services (environment)
CC: Director General, Environmental Protection Agency; Chief Officer, An Bord Pleanala


Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment
Bishop's Road, Cobh, Co. Cork
Tel - 021 481 5564      Email -
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