Council confident Poolbeg incinerator will go ahead

Dublin City Council management is “confident” agreement will be reached with US waste management company Covanta by the end of February to allow construction to start on the controversial Poolbeg incinerator.

Assistant city manager Séamus Lyons told The Irish Times “intense discussions” were being held with senior Covanta officials to get the company “back on site” to build the 600,000-tonne facility.

He said the council had twice extended the “termination clause” in its contract with Covanta, with the latest extension due to expire on February 29th. “I don’t envisage that happening, as I’m confident agreement will be reached.”

According to Mr Lyons, delays in progressing the €350 million project were due to “lack of clear policy” on waste management, although this had been resolved by Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan since he took office last March.

The Minister dropped a proposed incineration levy of up to €120 per tonne and published a consultation paper on waste, which envisages introducing “franchise bidding” in the sector and giving control over the waste stream to local authorities.

These moves were widely seen in the waste management sector as part of an effort to facilitate the Poolbeg “energy from waste” project. Panda Waste’s managing director, Eamon Waters, said they were “driven by one engine only – Poolbeg”.

Proposals to “rationalise” the State’s 10 waste management “regions”, which include single counties acting alone, are also being considered by the Department of the Environment and the County and City Managers’ Association, Mr Lyons said.

However, Covanta was relying on raising money from banks and other investors – and this had proved more difficult in the current environment, he added.

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