Incinerators ‘will create overcapacity’

Plans for a series of waste incinerators across Ireland will create massive overcapacity for the thermal treatment of waste, according to Environment Minister John Gormley.

Mr Gormley, who would prefer to see alternatives such as recycling, waste minimisation and composting used to reduce the amount of waste, claims that only 400,000 tonnes of waste will require incineration by 2016.

However, local authorities are looking at creating incinerators around the country which will have a combined capacity of 750,000 tonnes of waste, in addition to two plans for existing plans for plants which, according to the Irish Independent have a capacity of 800,000.

The newspaper claims that a plant already approved for Dublin will have the capacity of 600,000 tonnes, while a second in Co Meath will be able to handle 200,000 tonnes.

A local official cited by the paper claimed that Mr Gormley was making it difficult for regions.

The official said: “Current government policy is waste to energy, and thermal treatment is okay as long as you generate heat and power from it.”

John Gormley is trying to change government policy and initiating a review.

In the meantime, he has told regional authorities not to get into contracts until the review is complete.

“There’s very few new landfills being opened, and the waste that can’t be recycled has to go somewhere,” the official said.

“We can’t work on the basis that government policy might change. We have to work in the here and now, and that is that thermal treatment is government policy.”

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