Poolbeg Waste to energy debate rumbles on in Ireland

Ireland could meet European Landfill Diversion targets set for 2012 and 2016 without sending 600,000 tonnes of waste per year to the proposed Poolbeg waste to energy plant, according to a new report...

Ireland is on track to meet European Landfill Direction targets for 2012 and 2016 for the diversion of biodegradable waste from landfill, according to a new report.

Commissioned by the Irish Waste Management Association (IWMA), SLR Consulting Ireland examined information such as current waste infrastructure in the country, available data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and likely recycling performance in light of international trends.

A big focus of the report concentrated on the feasibility of the delayed Poolbeg waste to energy facility - a proposal the IWMA has criticised in the past.

Back in May the association said the facility capacity should be halved from the planned 600,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) to 300,000 tpa ( see Waste Management World story)

Earlier in the year the IWMA backed the publication of a report from the environment minister John Gormley on the incinerator and said the capacity is the "wrong size" ( see WMW story).

Entitled Emerging Waste Recovery Infrastructure, the report said that Ireland is set to meet the 2013 and 2016 targets for the diversion of biodegradable waste from landfill, even in the event that the proposed Poolbeg WtE plant does not proceed to construction.

The IWMA said: "This report is important because it lays to rest - for once and for all - the speculation about whether Ireland can meet the EU landfill targets without the Poolbeg incinerator. The report also shows that it is not credible for the EU waste diversion targets to be used to justify the advancement of one particular waste management project ahead of others."

Five scenarios for Ireland's future waste strategy were considered as part of the report:
All planned waste management facilities are developed The Poolbeg WtE facility is not developed, but all other facilities planned by existing Irish waste management companies are completed The Poolbeg facility is developed and 50% of the proposed mechanical and biological treatment (MBT) processing capacity is not delivered The waste to energy facility is not developed and 50% of the proposed MBT waste processing capacity is also not delivered That Poolbeg is not developed, that 50% of proposed MBT waste processing capacity is not developed, and that a higher level of waste is generated, as per the ISUS projections. In the report conclusions, SLR said: "Further developments, currently proposed by the waste industry, will be more than adequate to meet the 2013 and 2016 targets without need for the development of the Poolbeg EfW facility. In fact, it appears that even if only 50% of these proposed developments were to proceed, Ireland will comfortably meet the Landfill Directive targets without the Poolbeg EfW facility."

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